MANILA (Mabuhay) — President Benigno S. Aquino III has signed into law a bill aimed at ensuring the protection of students against possible abuses by Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs) in relation to the right of students to choose their review centers.
The Chief Executive signed on August 23 the Republic Act No. 10609 otherwise known as the “Protection of Students’ Right to Enroll in Review Centers Act of 2013”.
The new Act was finally passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate on December 8, 2010 and June 5, 2013, respectively.
While the state recognizes the complementary roles of public and private institutions in the enhancement and strengthening of the educational system, President Aquino said the state has the responsibility to ensure the protection of students against possible abuses by HEIs in relation to the right of students to choose their review centers.
The new law covers all public and private HEIs, including local colleges and universities, offering courses that require professional licensure examinations.
Under the new law, the HEIs cannot compel students enrolled in courses requiring professional examinations to take review classes, which are not part of the curriculum, in a review center of the HEI’s choice.
The law prohibits HEIs to make such review classes a prerequisite for graduation or completion of the course. It is unlawful for the HEIs to force students to enroll in a review center of the school’s choice, and to pay the corresponding fees that include transportation and board and lodging.
The law prohibits HEIs to withhold the transcript of scholastic records, diploma, certification or any essential document of the student.
Any HEI official or employee, including deans, coordinators, advisers, professors and other concerned individuals found guilty of violating any of the unlawful acts under this Act shall suffer the penalty prision correccional or imprisonment from six (6) months and one (1) day to six (6) years and a fine of Seven hundred fifty thousand pesos (P750,000.00).
The violator shall also be suspended from office. The violator’s professional license will also be revoked.
In addition, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) may impose disciplinary sanctions against an HEI official or employee violating this Act pursuant to Section 13 of Republic Act No. 7722, otherwise known as the “Higher Education Modernization Act of 1994”.
President Aquino tasked the CHED to issue the implementing rules and regulations of this Act within thirty (30) days after this law takes effect.
This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days after its publication the Official Gazette or in two (2) newspapers of general circulation. (MNS)