When the coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc on several countries around the world, governments decided to impose community quarantine restrictions in order to prevent the spread of the virus and save a lot of people from getting infected. Though the lockdowns were able to save human lives, it gave hard blows to the economy. Businesses had no choice but to stop their operations—even those which have withstood the test of times.
One of these institutions is the 107-year-old College of the Holy Spirit Manila (CHSM). One of the five schools that made up the Mendiola Consortium, CHSM is a Catholic school founded in 1913. The other members of the Mendiola Consortium include the Centro Escolar University, San Beda University, La Consolacion College, and Saint Jude Catholic School.
Increasingly complex challenges
Sr. Carmelita Victoria of the Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit stated in a letter to the CHSM community that while the school had managed to survive over the years with the strong support of its alumni, faculty, and staff, the challenges it faced along with the country’s education sector has ‘become increasingly complex’ in the last decade.
“The recent COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the situation. The reduction or loss in family income, mobility restrictions and social distancing requirements, and the new demands of distance learning had adversely affected enrollment, not only in CHSM but in most private schools, as well,” Sr. Carmelita said in her letter.
She added that after consultations with stakeholders’ representatives, and a deep and prayerful process of discernment, they are now even more convinced that the Holy Spirit is speaking clearly to them through the signs of the times, compelling them to make such extremely difficult decision—to close CHSM at the end of the academic year 2021-2022.
According to her, the timetable will allow the CHSM to graduate their current Grade 11 and third-year college students, should they choose to stay on.
Other factors that led to this decision are the government policies on the K-12 curriculum; free tuition in the state, local, and state-run colleges, universities, technical, and vocational institutions; and the significant increase in public school teachers’ salaries compared to their private school counterparts.