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Colegio de San Lorenzo did not inform DepEd before announcing permanent closure on first day of classes

By John Patrick Magno Ranara Published Aug 16, 2022 11:52 am Updated Aug 16, 2022 4:30 pm

The Department of Education (DepEd) said they were not informed about the decision of Colegio de San Lorenzo prior to their announcement of its permanent closure on the first day of classes.

Speaking to reporters, Michael Poa, spokesperson for the Department of Education, said that CDSL did not inform them of their intention to close. According to Poa, the school did a "voluntary closure" as provided in Section 43 of DepEd Order 88 s. 2010.

Poa said that DepEd will assist the affected students, especially since the School Year 2022-2023 will already start on Aug. 22.

"On the part of DepEd, our primary concern is the learners. There is already a private school in Quezon City that got in touch with DepEd and informed us that they are willing to absorb students, particularly Grades 11 and 12 at the same tuition rate," he said.

With regards to the teachers who had lost their jobs, Poa said that they are entitled to separation pay, but DepEd will still have to explore other forms of assistance that they could provide to them.

Officials of CDSL are reportedly in talks with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) regional office in Metro Manila office, the agency’s chairperson J. Prospero De Vera III said Tuesday.

Permanent closure

Colegio De San Lorenzo's sudden announcement on Monday that it was permanently closing its doors shocked students, parents, and employees alike.

In a statement published on Aug. 15, the private Catholic college, founded in 1987, cited financial difficulties brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and lack of enrollees over the previous years as the main reasons for the closure.

"With a very heavy heart, we would like to inform you that due to the financial instability and lack of financial viability brought about by the ongoing pandemic and exacerbated by consistent low enrollment turnout over the past years, the Board of Trustees has come to the painful and difficult decision to permanently close our education institution," the statement read.

The decision came even though the school already has new enrollees under its wing. CDSL has promised to initiate full refunds for various fees paid by potential students. 

"We will initiate full refunds of fees paid (i.e. tuition, uniform expenses, book expenses) and assist all students for their transfer to other school and educational institutions by timely releasing their records and credentials regarding this matter," CDSL stated.

The schedule for the processing and claiming of refunds are from Aug. 16 to Sept. 19.

The private college is also coordinating with a university "of the same calibre" for the possible transfer of students there.

"We earnestly hope for your understanding and cooperation as we formally end the three-decade long educational mission of our beloved institution. We wish our students and their parents, who have been part of the Colegio De San Lorenzo family, nothing but the best," CDSL ended.

The sudden decision has been negatively received by stakeholders and other concerned citizens.

One user commented, "[I] thought there was assurance that I can start my college years in your institution and yet you gave me false hopes and questions. Now, I have to spend more time and money just to find another school, na imbis na papasok na dapat ako wala. Nasira mga plano kong mag-aral nang maayos."

"I know someone who haven't gotten their documents/creditials for years na yet you’re so confident that you can RELEASE everything from August 16-September 19," another user wrote.

She added, "I know you’re going to overwork your faculty. Please pay them a higher salary kahit man lang sa remaining month na ito. Grabe 'yung stress na binibigay niyo sa kanila while the people who needs to be held accountable are nowhere to be found."

Others said, "This is really frustrating as this is something that doesn’t just happen overnight. [T]his is an educational institution and the students’ lives are massively affected by your sudden closure. This could have been handled better in several ways."