Lawmaker Proposes Expansion of Gastpe Program to Improve Education

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PASIG City Lone District Rep. Roman Romulo emphasized the significance of fostering a partnership between public and private schools to enhance the education system in the country. In a recent briefing, Romulo, who chairs the House Committee on Basic Education and Culture, discussed the proposed expansion of the Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education (Gastpe) program as a means to alleviate overcrowding in public schools.

The Gastpe program currently enables students in public schools from Grades 7-10 to enroll in private schools through a voucher system. Romulo’s proposed E-Gastpe bill seeks to expand the voucher program to include Grades 1-6, while also establishing quality standards for private schools participating in the program.

“The majority of students in the Department of Education (DepEd) fall under the elementary level, Grades 1-6. We are aware of the existing shortage of classrooms. Additionally, due to the pandemic, many private school students have transferred to public schools, creating vacancies in private institutions,” explained Romulo.

With the expanded Gastpe bill, Romulo envisions a collaborative partnership between public and private schools. He hopes that private schools will join forces with DepEd to address the issue of overcrowding, particularly given the current teacher-to-student ratio of one teacher for every 50 students.

This ratio has resulted in multiple class shifts and the implementation of hybrid classes. Romulo believes that the safeguards incorporated in the Expanded Gastpe Law will enable “quality” private schools to participate in the program through a private school mapping system.

By expanding the Gastpe program and including Grades 1-6, more students will have the opportunity to access education in private schools. This expansion will not only alleviate the strain on public schools but also provide parents and students with more options for quality education.

The partnership between public and private schools can bring about numerous benefits. Private schools often have smaller class sizes, which allow for more focused attention on individual students. They may also offer specialized programs and resources that cater to specific learning needs.

Furthermore, this collaboration can foster innovation in teaching methods and curriculum development. Public and private schools can share best practices and learn from each other’s experiences, ultimately raising the overall standard of education in the country.

However, it is crucial to ensure that private schools participating in the Gastpe program meet certain quality standards. The private school mapping system proposed in the E-Gastpe bill will help identify and select reputable private schools that can provide a high-quality education to students.

Expanding the Gastpe program is a step towards creating a more inclusive and comprehensive education system. By combining the resources and expertise of both public and private schools, we can work towards bridging the gaps in education and providing every student with equal opportunities for success.

In conclusion, the proposed expansion of the Gastpe program, as advocated by Rep. Roman Romulo, holds great potential for improving the education system in the country. The partnership between public and private schools, facilitated by the Gastpe program, can address the issue of overcrowding in public schools and provide students with more options for quality education. With the inclusion of Grades 1-6, more students will have the opportunity to access education in private schools, leading to a more inclusive and comprehensive education system overall.

Source: The Manila Times

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