By Kathleen de Villa
Tutorial centers have been among the most severely affected by the start of the K to 12 program implementation, with the number of enrollees in college entrance test review programs significantly dropping beginning this year.
MSA Academic Advancement Institute and AHEAD Tutorial & Review Center are two of those that have expected a decrease in enrollment.
MSA said the number of student reviewing for college entrance tests dropped this summer to a maximum of 10 students from a high of 30 in 2014.
“By 2016, we expect enrollment to be down by 80 to 95 percent,” an MSA representative said in a telephone interview.
Meanwhile, AHEAD President Rossana Llenado said their classes were not full since many students did not enroll in tutorial programs because they would either be in Grade 11, the first year of the senior high school program (SHS), or attend “bridging programs” in their schools.
Under Republic Act No.10648, or the Iskolar ng Bayan Act of 2014, state universities and colleges (SUCs) are required to “provide a summer bridge program should the scholar fail to meet the academic admission requirements for his or her preferred course, in order to enable the scholar to comply with the minimum academic requirements and/or allow the scholar to enroll in another course.”
“The drop hurts us financially,” Llenado said in an e-mail interview.
But she said her company had long prepared for this “crisis” and considered it an opportunity to boost the significance of review centers as students transition to the new basic education program.
“The shift to the K to 12 system makes tutorials even more important. Students may have to deal with a heavier study load as they transition to a new system,” Llenado said.
To make up for the losses in college entrance test review programs, Llenado said different services are available in the company’s other platforms such as AHEAD Professional Network, which offers review programs for the National Medical Admission Test and Law School Entrance Examinations, among others; AHEAD Online, which caters to students in the United States preparing for the Scholastic Aptitude Test and American College Test, as well as for non-English speaking Asian professionals seeking to master the language of business.
Steps have also been taken by the MSA Academic Advancement Institute to counter the negative impact of the transition to K to 12 in 2016.
MSA said its summer programs, such as Smart Reader, Academic Advancement Program, English Enhancement Program and Merlene Math, a Singaporean approach to learning Mathematics, are expected to compensate for the losses incurred by their college entrance test review offerings.
Despite the anticipated fall in enrollment, review classes for college entrance tests will continue in both companies in 2016 and 2017, since only schools that meet the requirements of the Department of Education would be allowed to offer the SHS Program.
As of April, more than 5,800 public schools nationwide were set to offer the SHS program in 2016.
Besides, MSA said the unfavorable impact on their business might just be during the “adjustment period,” the transition to the K to 12 program.
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