CHEd bats vouchers for kids of OFWs to ensure they continue schooling
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) on Friday proposed a voucher system for children of displaced overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), that would ensure that they continue with their studies amid the economic challenges posed by the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
In the joint virtual hearing of the Senate committees on finance and public affairs, CHEd chairman Prospero de Vera said that the voucher system would be a “laudible initiative.”
“We can target for example, the first batch, yung mga anak ng OFWs na umuwi na hindi made-deploy. And maybe grant them a one time grant just so that they could pay the tuition for this school year, “ de Vera said.
(We can target, as for example, the first batch, the children of OFWs who returned and would not be redeployed.)
“Pwede naman one-shot grant muna para may pambayad sila, the expectation is next school year, hopefully the economy has picked up, hopefully they can be redeployed, so kakayanin na ng pamilya magbayad ng tuition,” he added.
(We can do a one-shot grant so that they have something that they could pay, and the expectation is that next school year, hopefully the economy has picked up, hopefully they can be redeployed, so the family can pay for the tuition.)
De Vera also said that the commission was expecting a possible dip in number of enrollees in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in August due to the pandemic.
“The dip in enrollment is caused by first, the economic downturn and its effects on families and second,the tremendous number of OFWs going home who might not be redeployed in time and the effect of this economic downturn is that they do not have any money for the education of their children when schools open in August,” he said.
Should the voucher system take effect, it would not only reduce the possible number of dropouts, but also prevent private HEIs from closing, De Vera said.
“We can work with the Department of Labor [and Employment] because they have the database on the returning OFWs and grant a one-time voucher to at least one child of every OFW,” he said.
Senators Sonny Angara and Imee Marcos, who chair the Senate committees on finance and public affairs respectively, then suggested that the commission should work with OFW-related agencies such as the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and Philippine Overseas Employment Administration to avoid duplication of grants.
It was also during the same hearing that De Vera revealed that more than 50,000 part time faculty employees from HEIs need financial assistance as they suffer from “No teach, no pay” due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The president of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) also bared that it was eyeing to grant educational loans to its members.
As of Friday, the Philippines’ COVID-19 cases shot up at 16,634 cases, of which 942 have died while 3,720 successfully recovered.
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