BY ALEXANDER MARTIN REMOLLINO
Members of the cause-oriented League of Filipino Students have called on the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairman Emmanuel Angeles to enforce a moratorium on tuition increases in light of the global economic crisis.
The LFS members made this call during a picket-dialogue earlier today at the CHED office in Diliman, Quezon City.
“With the dim (projections) by the government itself that massive lay-offs shall ensue…in the hundreds of thousands, the soundest policy initiative by the CHED at this moment would be to order the freezing of tuition increases in higher education institutions,” said Terry Ridon, LFS spokesperson.
Based on government data, 15,000 workers have been laid off in the last two months as a result of the crisis. Government estimates show that anywhere from 300,000 to 800,000 more workers could be laid off this year.
Meanwhile around 5,800 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) have been sent home in the last two months, also as a result of the crisis, based also on government data.
“While the COCOPEA (Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations) has released a statement asking its members to reconsider increasing tuition rates for next year, the CHED can (decisively) prod school owners, as a matter of clear government policy, on the gravity of the crisis, and its effects on the entire educational system,” Ridon also said.
Ridon added that because of the present crisis and the unabated tuition increases in the last several years, many families are now considering pulling out their children from their present schools. Citing the recent bankruptcies of several college education pre-need companies, Ridon also said the dream of a bright future is becoming more and more unattainable for the Filipino youth.
“Had the Arroyo government simply acceded to the demands of the students in the years past to strictly regulate tuition increases, the education sector (would) not be in such a dismal situation,” Ridon said. “Even the state universities and colleges which may have served as viable alternatives for higher education are now in dire financial straits, precisely because of this government’s misprioritization.” (Bulatlat.com)