PHILIPPINES. Manila: The century-old school, College of the Holy Spirit in Manila (CHSM), will cease operations in 2022. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected various sectors, one of which is education. This historic school as been among the many affected and is considered another Philippine casualty. Due to the current circumstances, the school has decided its last school year will be 2021.
Manila Archbishop Jeremias Harty invited the Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit to establish the College of the Holy Spirit in 1913 as the Holy Ghost College. The school has run for 107 years in Manila. However, the pandemic made it hard to attract new students this year.
The letter to the stakeholders
Sister Carmelita Victoria, the provincial leader of the Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit, wrote a letter to their stakeholders dated 28 Oct. 2020. The historic school has been able to keep operations running for many years thanks to strong support from its staff, faculty, and alumni. However, the challenge to keep up in the education sector became increasingly complicated in the last ten years.
Sister Victoria spoke about the future of the century-old school in a local news report. She said, “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 have adversely affected enrollment, not only in CHSM but in most private schools.”
She added, “After consultation with representatives of our stakeholders and a deep and prayerful process of discernment, we are now even more convinced that the Holy Spirit is speaking clearly to us through the signs of the times. Thus, compelling us to make this difficult decision to close CHSM at the end of the academic year 2021 to 2022.”
The official statement and school challenges
Transcontinental Times asked the school on their Facebook page to verify the reported statement. The school replied by posting an official letter online. An hour later, they posted their official announcement on social media.
The decree stated, “Be it known that the College of the Holy Spirit of Manila will voluntarily cease operations at the end of AY (academic year) 2021-2022. The timeline allows the school to graduate its current Grade 11 and 3rd year college students. Therefore, Grade 12 and 4th year college will be operational but levels K to Grade 11 and 1st to 3rd Year college will not open for AY 2021-2022. CHSM will stand by its commitments to all stakeholders.“
Concerning the other schools under the Mission Congregation of the Servants of the Holy Spirit, the school clarified that since they are separately incorporated, the decision will not affect them. Therefore, these schools will continue to operate.
Apart from CHSM, 865 other private schools also gave their notice to close this year. The century-old CHSM and others have been facing difficulties concerning the K-12 curriculum. In addition, the free tuition for college and university students and salary increase of public school teachers make it hard for private schools to compete.