By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. is pushing for the passage of a bill that would penalize universities and schools that implement a “no permit, no exam” policy.
Revilla on Tuesday said he filed Senate Bill No. 907, which seeks to prohibit the imposition of the policy or similar rules that prevent students in post-secondary and higher education from taking their examinations and assessment tests due to unpaid tuition and other school fees.
In filing his measure, the senator stressed that prohibiting a student from taking any examination over non-payment of school fees is a violation to the right to education.
The “no permit, no exam policy”, he added, could also affect the mental health of students and in effect their studies.
“Grabe ang epekto nito sa isang mag-aaral, nagkakaroon sila ng inferiority complex, anxiety at pagkawala ng self-esteem na humahantong sa pagkawala ng ganang mag-aral (The policy has grave effects to a student. It might cause them inferiority complex, anxiety, and loss of self-esteem that will affect their studies),” Revilla said in a statement.
While the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has issued a memorandum circular requiring universities to create a Student Affairs and Services office that would handle and provide scholarships, among other services to students, he said the order “does not categorically prohibit the ‘no permit, no exam policy’ and so this does not
effectively stop schools from practicing it.”
Revilla referred to the CHED Memorandum Order 9 series 2013.
Although in January 2010, the CHED ordered higher education institutions to “extend utmost flexibility” in implementing the “no permit, no exam” policy and allow students with delinquent accounts to take examinations in exchange for a promisory note.
SB 907, filed last August 13, proposes to ban the “no permit, no exam” policy not only in public and private higher education institutions, but also in private elementary and high schools, and technical-vocational schools.
It also seeks to prohibit schools from providing a different schedule of exam to students with unpaid fees; and requiring students to secure a special permit before taking the examinations.
School officials, teachers, professor and concerned individuals who would violate the proposed law will be penalized with a fine ranging from P50,000 to P100,000.
The bill, on the other hand, stated that students are obligated to settle their unpaid school fees with an interest rate of five percent per annum.
The rights of schools over the release of grades clearance and the admission or enrollment of affected students are also included in the measure.
Aside from Revilla, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, Sen. Nancy Binay and Sen. Emmanuel Pacquiao have also filed similar bills seeking to ban the “no permit, no exam” policy in schools.