Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Wednesday co-sponsored Senate Bill No. 2441, or the “Free College Entrance Examinations Act,” which aims to further democratize access to quality education in the country.
The bill, under Committee Report No. 122, mandates that private higher education institutions must waive entrance examination fees for certain qualified students.
Drawing upon the 1987 Philippine Constitution, Go emphasized the government’s mandate to protect the educational rights of its citizens. He cited the Constitution’s declaration that “the State shall protect and promote the right of all citizens to quality education at all levels and to take appropriate steps to make education accessible to all.”
This principle, Go added, has been bolstered over the past six years under the administration of former president Rodrigo Duterte that enacted Republic Act No. 10931, the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act, a landmark policy exempting eligible college students from paying tuition and other fees.
“Through this law, we saw how a single scholarship can be an instrument of change, altering not just one life but the destiny of an entire family,” Go said.
But despite these strides, Go pointed out the continuing problem of escalating costs that limit opportunities for underprivileged students.
Under SBN 2441, Filipino students graduating in the top 10 percent of their high school class would be eligible for free entrance exams in private higher education institutions. However, this would only be applicable if the student’s family income falls below the poverty threshold set by the National Economic and Development Authority.