Similar assemblies were simultaneously held in Southern Tagalog, Northern Luzon, Cebu and Davao.
Meanwhile, Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Jesli Lapuz revealed that increases in tuition in private primary and secondary educational institutions is also to be expected in the next school year. At least150 elementary and high schools revealed plans of increasing tuition.
‘Unreasonable increases’, ‘questionable fees’
The NUSP said that amid the global crisis, increasing tuition and miscellaneous fees is unreasonable.
In its partial Tuition Monitor, the NUSP listed universities planning to increase tuition.
At the Lyceum of the Philippines, an initial eight-percent increase in tuition was proposed by its administration in a consultative meeting with the Lyceum Central Student Government (LYCESGO) last February 19.
Marie Ann Torregoza, president of the LYCESGO said the eight-percent proposed tuition hike was later reduced to five percent after the students, led by the council members and LFS, held a protest action.
Torregoza said however that reducing the rate of increase is not enough since majority of Lyceum students are against any tuition hike.
Meanhwhile, the Alliance of Concerned Tomasians of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) reported increases in tuition and various miscellaneous fees. These included fees for guidance and counseling, library, drug testing, energy, student activity, and related learning experience program. Such fees, said Einstein Recedes, NUSP’s executive vice president, are being collected by the school administration for profit-generation.
Other student councils and individual students from different colleges and universities have been complaining about “questionable fees” that are being “imposed” on them. In the Lyceum, for instance, the student council revealed that aside from sports fee, students are also paying for the athletics fee, which they consider as “redundant fees”. There are also fees for the use of facilities such as audio-visual room, which they cannot even use, said Torregoza.
Aside from schools operating in the National Capital Region, Tuition Monitor has also documented proposed fee increases in the Cordillera region, Cebu, Samar and Davao.
The NUSP received a report that the University of the Cordilleras will be implementing a 200-percent increase in laboratory fees in the College of Engineering and College of Information Technology and Systems. Saint Louis University, meanwhile, is planning to increase its miscellaneous fees by 10 percent.
The group also reported that the University of Eastern Philippines, a state university located in Samar, has been implementing a “ladderized” tuition increase since last year. In Ateneo de Davao University, a reported six-percent increase in tuition will be implemented in the coming school year.
Students of state colleges and universities (SCUs) are also wary of the possible increases to be implemented in their schools.
Freshmen of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) were required to pay P1,050 ($21.51) for the Student Information System (SIS) during the enrollment last June.
Donnavie Pascual, the recently elected chairperson of the student council, said,“Imposing SIS fee can be the first step to finally increase the tuition.” She said that PUP students, who are mostly sons and daughters of workers who suffering from the brunt of crisis, should not be burdened by any increase in tuition and other fees. In 2007, the PUP administration proposed a 75 percent increase in tuition but the proposal was shelved due to massive student protests.
Sophia Prado, PUP’s Student Regent, said that letting public schools increase their fees is an act of “tolerating the rotten educational system the country has.” Student councils and groups in SCUs are at the same time campaigning for sufficient government subsidy that will “guarantee the affordability of education in public schools.”