Gov’t scholars must give ‘return of service’ : Ched

MANILA The Commission on Higher Education (Ched) said students who will be benefiting from Republic Act 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act (UAQTEA) are required to render 'return of service'.

In a press briefing on Wednesday on UAQTEA's enhanced Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR), Ched Officer-In-Charge J. Prospero de Vera III said since they are now government scholars, it is but right for them to return the money or favor by the public in the form of service.

Students are expected to render 'return of service' while studying in college. If they choose not to comply with the requirement, they will have to pay for their tuition and opt out of the scholarship program.

Ayaw mo mag return of service, eh di magbayad ka ng tuition, that is the provision of the law (If you don't want to perform return of service, then pay the tuition, that is the provision of the law), de Vera said.

De Vera added that the 'return of service' may involve simple tasks which student assistants do in most schools like filing books in the library or planting for campus beautification.

"Some of these services are existing activities of the universities already. Yung iba gagamitin yung pag-maintain ng mga landscaping, gagawing project sa mga extudyante, so the return service will happen while they are students. Hindi yung after grumaduate ka pagtatrabahuhin ka, no, it is a return service system while they are students. (Some of these services are existing activities of the universities already. Others will use the maintenance of the landscaping, they make it a project for students, so the return service will happen while they are students. It's not after you graduate, you will be asked to work, no it is a return service system while they are students), he said.

He added it is up for the universities to decide on the tasks they will assign to the students. But, he assured that students will not be given overwhelming tasks since the universities would have to submit the tasks list to CHED for evaluation.

It is not like students will be forced to do manual labor. It is just putting value to the subsidy that the taxpayers are giving, de Vera said.

The enhanced IRR said that UAQTEA will provide free tuition, miscellaneous and other similar or related fees for students who are enrolled in State Universities or Colleges (SUCs), CHED-recognized Local Universities and Colleges (LUCs).

The miscellaneous fees would include library, computer, laboratory, school ID, athletic, admission, development, handbook, guidance, entrance, registration, medical, dental and cultural fees.

All Filipino college undergraduates enrolled in SUCs and LUCs shall no longer pay tuition and other school fees, subject to admission and retention policies of institutions and future qualification policies mandated by the United Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education he said.

The enhanced IRR also include Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES) or grants-in aid, free Technical-Vocational Education and Training (TVET) for students enrolled in state-run Technical Vocational Institutions (TVIs) and National Student Loan Program (SLP).

The changes, he said, will be implemented by June for academic school year ?2018-2019.

In line with the enhanced IRR, the government has allocated PHP40 billion this coming school year PHP16 billion for the TES, PHP7 billion for TVET, PHP1 billion for the Student Loan Program, and PHP16 billion for Free Higher Education.

Source: Philippine News Agency