Students from the University of Northern Philippines (UNP) through the initiative of Alliance of Concerned Students-Partido ng Demokratikong Mag-aaral (ACS-PDM), a campus party alliance, are now gearing up for the budget deliberation in Congress this coming November.
BY ZOFIA LEAL
Vol. VII, No. 36, October 14-20, 2007
Students from the University of Northern Philippines (UNP) through the initiative of Alliance of Concerned Students-Partido ng Demokratikong Mag-aaral (ACS-PDM), a campus party alliance, are now gearing up for the budget deliberation IN Congress this coming November.
UNP is the first state university in Northern Luzon, created through the enactment of Republic Act No. 4449 which was authored by the late Rep. Floro S. Crisologo. The act paved the way for the conversion of the Ilocos Sur School of Arts and Trades into UNP on June 19, 1965. Currently, UNP has about 12,000 students.
For this school year, the UNP increased its tuition from P75 ($1.70 based on a $1:P44.0517 exchange rate) per unit to P100 ($2.27) per unit. The library, medical/dental, athletic and registration (LMAR) fees also increased by P20.Even the ID fee increased by P10.
According to Mark Asuncion, a law student and chairperson of ACS-PDM, the students were not consulted on the said fee increases, contrary to what is provided under the Higher Education Modernization Act (HEMA). Asuncion mentioned that last May, the UNP administration held a policy conference and he said it should have been a good venue to mention the increase in the fees.
“They deliberately did not announce their plan to increase the tuition because the UNP administration knows that the students will oppose it, as we have already done before,” Asuncion said.
The UNP administration claims that the tuition increase was already approved by the students and that they are using Board Resolution No. 70, s. 2003 as the basis. However, Asuncion points out, said Board Resolution only covers the increases up to school year 2006-2007, “Thus making the said increases void, therefore, the UNP administration should refund all illegally collected fees.”
The ACS-PDM conducted a survey last June to July to ask students if they approved of the increases in tuition and other fees. The survey was conducted through random sampling of all the colleges with a total of 508 respondents, a 5-percent margin of error and a 95-percent confidence level. Said survey was analyzed using the Statistical Program for the Social Sciences (SPSS).
The survey results showed that 95.67 percent of respondents are opposed to the tuition increase with 38 percent saying “dahil sa mahirap ang buhay at ang mahal na ng mga gastusin” (because it is hard to earn money nowadays aside from the high prices of products). Other answers include “malaki ang itinaas, at hindi sila nagtanong sa mga magulang kung papabor ba sila” (the increase is high and they did not even ask the parents if they approve of the increase) and “kasi, hindi naman lahat ng estudyante mayaman” (not all students are rich).
As regards the increase of LMAR fees, 94.69 percent of students surveyed answered that they do not approve of it, with 26.20 percent saying that “it is already hard to earn money.”
The ACS-PDM is already distributing to students signature campaign sheets calling on the UNP administration to refund the increases and urging the government to increase their state subsidy.
“The UNP administration should understand that the solution to the financial problems of the university is not to burden the students and our parents with high tuition but to assert to the government a higher state subsidy,” Asuncion said. “We are now gearing to send our signatures to Congress for them to realize that the students of UNP are willing to fight for our education and subsequently, our future.”(Bulatlat.com)