Youth groups held a protest in front of Commission on Higher Education (CHED) yesterday as the commission announced its approval of a new round of tuition and other fee increases for school year 2012-2013. According to CHED, as much as 256 higher education institutions are set to increase tuition rates by an average of 10% this coming school year.
Anakbayan, National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) and Kabataan Partylist called on the Aquino government to “be more sensitive” to the plight of the majority of the Filipinos who are poor.
“We are furious on how President Aquino and CHED affectionately understand yearly needs of private HEIs to hike tuition, due to increasing costs but fail to see or hear parents and students difficulties,” said NUSP secretary general Issa Baguisi.
It looks like CHED and the government is once again noynoying regarding tuition increases. As it is, 8 out of 10 students entering college fail to finish studies due to high tuition rates. With increasing poverty and rising prices, youth groups said it is criminal to further hike tuition.
Various complaints have been filed by youth groups to CHED offices regarding dubious fees, unjust increases and bogus consultation processes but have apparently been ignored by CHED.
Student councils and organizations decry “dubious, redundant and exorbitant fees” being collected by schools. NUSP says schools collect absurd fees which are clearly income-generating rackets.
“Will the President tell us that he is again “powerless” to protect students just as he is powerless to protect citizens from oil price hikes?” said Baguisi.
It seems CHED has also turned a blind eye to the fact that many schools have been raking millions in profits out of parents’ pockets. The biggest private schools have been consistenly among the top corporations.
According to the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), the top 5 schools have amassed at least P3 billion in accumulated profits in the past 6 years. Students ask: isn’t CHED’s mandate to defend the right to education and not protect balooning profits of capitalist-educators?
Serious legal charges should be explored vs CHED and Aquino for complicity in the robbery being done by capitalist-educators. No less than the Constitution states that quality and accesible education in all levels should be ensured by the state. They have clearly abandoned this mandate.
Due to cuts in budget allocation, fees in State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) are set to increase as well. According to NUSP, Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) is set to increase its miscellaneous fees by 100%, from P500 to P1000.
The Mindanao State University (MSU), Marawi campus, will also see its tuition rates go up by 1400%. Students in MSU, currently paying Php 85 per semester, will now have to pay Php 50 per unit. Meanwhile, all 12 state universities and colleges in the Cordilleras have proposed an increase their tuition rates by as much as 300%.
We have to remind the president that not everyone is born rich and that not everyone can send their children to exclusive private schools. It seems the education policy under Aquino is ‘No Money, No Entry.’
We must remind the Aquino: education is a right and not a privilege of a few and the state has the responsibility to ensure education for all.
NUSP warned of more protests if “noynoying” continues. They called on CHED and the Aquino government to immediately impose a moratorium on all tuition hikes next year and investigate dubious fees.
“Back to school protests are geared up and will continue not until Pres. Aquino and CHED impose a moratorium on Tuition and Other Fee Increases,” said NUSP.
Written for BlogWatch