South Cotabato, Koronadal City- Free education is top priority among the projects and programs of The Province of South Cotabato, anchoring on Section I, Article XIV of the 1987 Constitution which provides that the state shall protect and promote the right of all citizens to quality education at all levels, and on the declared state policy under the Governance of Basic education Act of 2001 (Republic Act. No. 9155), to make education accessible and free for all Filipino children.
What free Education entails is not only freedom from payment of tuition fees, but freedom, as well, from the burden of paying for the school-related contributions. The Provincial Government of South Cotabato, in order to realize the mandate for free education, aims to strictly carry-out of Zero Collection Policy of the Department of Education (DepEd), specially the collection of Parent Teacher Association (PTA) dues (DepEd Memorandum No. 143, s.2016, DepEd Order No. 41, s 2012).
Guided by Section 99(a) of the Local Government Code of 1991 (R.A.No. 7160), the Provincial Government, thus, intends to provide financial assistance to public schools under the Assistance to Public Education (APE) program for 2020.
Making up the bulk of the APE program’s fund, Php 35, 000,000 will be provided as financial assistance to public elementary and secondary schools. The financial Assistance to public schools will be distributed based on the categorization devised by the DepEd of the 517 schools in the ten (10) municipalities and one (1) city of South Cotabato. The criteria used in differentiating these schools into Category A, B, C, D, and E, is the number of students enrolled for the school year 2020-2021 as of September 24, 2020
Under the program, 72 Category A schools, which include extension elementary and secondary schools, will receive Php. 58,000 each; 323 Category B schools, Php 60,000 each; 82 Category C schools, Php 85,000 each; 32 Category D schools, Php 100,000 each; and 8 category E schools will receive Php 125,000 each.
The implementation of Financial Assistance to Public Schools under the Assistance to Public Education Program shall be through the collaborative efforts of the Provincial Government of South Cotabato and the Department of Education, the primary government instrumentality mandated to formulate, implement, and coordinate policies, plans, program and projects in the area Basic Education.