BY HANNAH FAITH S. DORMIDO
Posted 5:25 p.m., May 15, 2008
Youth groups staged a protest action in front of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to demand an immediate moratorium on tuition increases given the present socio-economic crisis.
“Parents are now being forced to choose between sending their children to school or spending that amount to buy rice and other necessities. This is apart from the fact that school fees are also on the rise due to lack of budgetary allocation,” said Vencer Crisostomo, League of Filipino Students (LFS) national chairperson.
Crisostomo added that the government’s failure to address the current crisis would force parents not to send children to school. “PMA na lang muna sila: Pahinga Muna Anak or Pangkain na lang Muna Anak,” he said.
Anakbayan spokesperson Ken Ramos said the CHED has remained a “mere observer” as both private and state universities have increased tuition by as much as 100percent in the past years.
The University of the Philippines (UP) is now charging freshmen P1000/unit tuition while the Philippine Normal University (PNU) increased its tuition from P50 to P100 per unit. The Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) meanwhile is collecting a new developmental fee amounting to P250 per student.
According to Anakbayan, private tertiary schools have also applied for tuition increases. The University of Santo Tomas has set a 7-percent increase. Thirty three schools in Western Visayas have been reported to impose15-percent tuition increase while 19 private colleges and universities in Cebu City plan to increase tuition by 5-16 percent when classes resume this June.
Crisostomo said the Arroyo government has made education less accessible to Filipinos. He said LFS calls on the government to “act quickly and decisively” to address the “worsening crisis which it has only itself and its flawed policies to blame.”
Anakbayan challenges CHED chairman Romulo Neri to “intervene in this situation of crisis, and implement a moratorium on all tuition increases in tertiary schools.”
According to LFS, inorder to address the worsening education crisis, the government must increase budgetary allocation and subsidy, stop implementation of unjust tuition and other fee increases this coming year and stop the imposition of school fees and compulsory payments in public elementary and high schools. (Bulatlat.com)