THE Committee in Higher Education and Technical Education of the House of Representatives has approved a measure that seeks to allow students to take their exams despite unpaid school fees.The House Bill 1160 was initially filed by former Kabataan Party-list representative Sarah Elago and was refiled by now Kabataan Representative Raoul Manuel during the 19th Congress.It aims to penalize schools implementing a “No Permit, No Exam” policy, which includes disallowing students to take their exam due to unpaid balances; requiring students to secure a permit to take their exams; and compelling students to pay upon enrollment a downpayment or first installment equivalent to more than 30 percent of the total amount of tuition and other school fees for the entire semester or duration of the course.Committee chairman Mark Go expressed support for the bill, which covers only the private schools.The measure prescribed a fine of not less than P20,000 but not more than P50,000 to any school official or employee, including deans, coordinators, advisers, professors, instructors, and other concerned individuals who will be found liable for the unlawful acts.School administration may also be ordered to pay a fine of not less than P100,000 but not more than P1 million.Meanwhile, Association of Local Colleges and Universities executive director Raymundo Arcega defended the policy, saying it is needed in order for the schools to sustain their operations.”Private institutions also must be allowed to require permits and clearances… We have to give the students the sense of accountability and responsibility and so with their parents to be reminded that when they send their students to private school, they also have the obligation to be conscious about their payables,” he said.”Kawawa din po kasi yung private kasi wala ho silang pinanggagalingan ng kanilang pinapasweldo sa kanilang mga teachers,” he added. (SunStar Philippines)