The Department of Education announced a stern warning to those schools which will be found to have ‘ghosts’ or nonexistent students as recipients of the senior high school (SHS) voucher program. The government agency would ensure strict sanctions to violators.

The Private Education Assistance Committee closely monitors this and if some schools are caught doing it, their permits will be canceled plus a case will be filed.

According to DepEd undersecretary Jesus Lorenzo Mateo, the voucher program was attached to the learner’s information system to prevent abuse. Every student now has a learner’s information or learner’s reference number.

“We have a lot of systems in place just to avoid this from happening. We [at DepEd], including schools that offer the Kindergarten to Grade 10 or Kindergarten to Grade 12, should work hand in hand. We should only implement what is according to the law,” the DepEd official added.

To give assistance to families who have a student going through senior high school, the government offers financial aid for Grade 10 completers who want to continue their studies in private schools, public universities, colleges, and technical vocational institutions offering senior high.

Students are given a subsidy that enables them to secure discount on tuition and other school fees.
For this year alone, DepEd has budgeted Php24 billion for the senior high school voucher program.

The extended Government Assistance for Students and Teachers in Private Education (e-GASTPE) covers an estimated 1.4 million students who will enroll in Grades 11 and 12 in private schools. The voucher ranges from Php 8,750-Php22,500.

DepEd received the largest allocation from the national budget this year among the government departments. A huge percentage of this budget has been set aside and used for the implementation of K-to-12.