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CHEd, DepEd should provide ‘tuition relief’ for typhoon victims

As enrollment for second semester begins, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), Department of Education (DepEd) and school administrators should provide ‘tuition relief’ for students affected by the recent typhoons and floods and exempt them from tuition payment this semester.

This should stop the impending rise in drop-out rates this semester due to inability of many students to pay high tuition and fee costs, especially in North, Central Luzon and other regions most affected by the recent typhoons and flooding.

Many students are children of farmers whose crops and source of livelihood were ravaged by the typhoons. Government and school administrators should help out and exempt these students from paying tuition and other fees.

Recently, around 650,000 families or 3 million people were affected by the devastation of typhoon Pedring in 3,545 barangays in 35 provinces according to Citizens Disaster Response Center (CDRC) . The number of people killed has also reached 83, with 73 more injured, and 20 others missing.

CHEd and DepEd can order schools, both state-run and private, to contribute to the bayanihan and relief efforts by unconditionally waiving the tuition and other fees of those affected by the typhoons and disasters.

It should be noted that tuition and other fee rates have been skyrocketing during the past years, especially in college, due to the lack of a tuition regulation policy while profits of the big schools have been increasing. On the other hand, drop-out rates have been rising even without the disasters. CHEd should ensure that access to education is not hampered by profiteering and unreasonable rates.

Take note that we don’t need loan schemes and deceptive “socialized” tuition schemes. Schools should genuinely help out and not profit over the woes of the poor students and their parents.

The CHEd and the Aquino government meanwhile should be hit for another failed promise regarding rationalization of tuition and miscellaneaous fees.

Earlier, various youth groups called the attention of Congress and Senate over “bizarre and redundant” fees being collected in private schools. CHEd and the Palace promised to issue a fee rationalization framework.

After several hearings and consultations, CHEd promised to review its tuition regulation policy. However, CHEd has yet to release the new guidelines.  Tapos na ang first semester, enrollment na ulit, wala pa rin silang ginawa.

Last semester, CHED allowed more than 280 universities including state universities to increase tuition by 15%. The government also encouraged tuition increases in stat universities and colleges after repeated slashes in the SUC budget.

Students have every right to be dismayed and outraged over a press release government issuing pretty statements and promises but actually doing nothing.

Protest activities are beng planned by different youth groups nationwide to call on CHEd to do its job, regulate tuition rates and stop tuition and fee increases.

Students and parents are again being robbed this enrollment season while the Aquino government does nothing. We cannot allow this to continue, it is time we wake them up.


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