Bishop: Gov’t support to private schools a matter of ‘survival’

Bishop: Gov’t support to private schools a matter of ‘survival’

Bishop Roberto Mallari, chairman of the CBCP Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education. DIOCESE OF SAN JOSE DE NUEVA ECIJA

By CBCP News

June 18, 2020

Manila, Philippines

The government should take concrete steps to help private schools cope with the coronavirus crisis, a Catholic bishop said.

Bishop Roberto Mallari of San Jose de Nueva Ecija, chairman of the Church’s Commission on Catechesis and Catholic Education, said that government intervention is necessary for the “survival” of private schools.

“It’s important to know that even private schools need also help from the government for their survival. I pray that we, especially the present government, recognize the role of private schools in nation building,” Mallari said.

“They are not just there to earn money. But most of them, if not all, exist because of a great sense of mission to contribute in the formation of young minds,” he said.

The bishop was reacting to reports that hundreds of private schools are at risk of closure over lack of enrollees.

Some 400 private schools are on the verge of closing down operations, according to a survey by the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Association of the Philippines (COCOPEA).

The study also showed that around 370,000 private school teachers went on “no work no pay” status, or have taken pay cuts since the Covid-19 pandemic started.

Bishop Mallari said one reason for the enrollment drop is because parents want to protect their children “so they want to keep them at home”.

“But parents should also know that it is not good also for the mental health of their children to stay at home without doing anything,” he added.

“They should be kept busy. They have to find a way of doing their usual activities in the new normal,” the prelate also said.

The Education department said that about 318,930 students have so far enrolled in private schools for the upcoming school year, which is a lot fewer compared to around 4 million g recorded last year.