Educational Service Contracting (ESC)
The Educational Service Contracting scheme, or ESC, is a program provided for by Republic Act 8545 (amending R.A. 6728), or the “Expanded Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education, or GASTPE. Its main objective is to decongest public secondary schools by “contracting” the excess capacities of private high schools through the provision of subsidies for students who, otherwise, would have gone to the public high schools.
The ESC was a response to stresses and strains at the high school level in both the public and private school sectors in the ‘70s up to the mid-80s. With the looming congestion problem, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports (MECS) commissioned FAPE to conduct a feasibility study on the ESC and later pilot trials in Region VIII, in coordination with the Eastern Visayas Association of Private Schools (EVAPS), and in Region XII, in coordination with the Notre Dame Educational Association (NDEA). The results showed that the ESC was a cost-effective way of delivering education.
In recognition of its viability, the ESC was allocated five million pesos in the 1986 budget as one of the thrusts of the Ministry of Education. In the 1987-1992 Philippine Development Plan, it was identified as a strategy in providing equitable access to education. The ESC was institutionalized as one of the GASTPE programs in 1989.
For over 20 years, the ESC has been on a fast-forward growth. In 2011-2012, the ESC budget amounted to 3.61 billion that enabled 634,860 students to study in 2,860 participating secondary schools. The ESC is a concrete demonstration of a strong private-public sector partnership in making secondary education accessible to Filipino children.