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Volume IV, Number 22 July 4 - 10, 2004 Quezon City, Philippines
Cuts Belie Arroyo’s ‘Education-for-All’ Claim
the commercialization and privatization schemes, the Arroyo presidency
only showed lip service to public tertiary education and allowed it to be
gobbled up by profit-oriented enterpreneurs. Will it be any different now
under a new administration that is run by the same president?
show that the state of tertiary education remains pitiful. Ironically, the
President remains mum on any increase in the budgetary allocation to
education, particularly state universities and colleges (SUCs).
she assumed presidency in 2001 as a result of the people’s uprising
popularly called EDSA Dos, the budget for SUCs amounted to only P13.81
billion ($246.74 million, based on an exchange rate of P55.97 for every US
dollar). Not surprisingly, the youth sector at that time presented to
Arroyo a four-point agenda which included higher subsidy for SUCs.
2002 and 2003, the budget for SUCs was pegged at P15.87 billion ($283.54
million) but this was reduced again to P15.71 billion ($280.69 million)
the following year.
Congress failed to approve the 2004 budget, the previous year’s national
budget is being used this year. As a result, the much-needed increase in
the allocation for SUCs was not realized.
The Maintenance and Other Operating Expenditures (MOOE) of SUCs consequently decreased in the past years. It was slashed by almost half in 1994. (See Chart)
Rationalization of SUCs
to the budget cuts, public tertiary education is even more expensive today
since SUCs tend to increase tuition, among others, to – or so they claim
- finance their operations. In a survey by the Philippine Education Sector
Study in 1998, tuition in SUCs amounted to P3,100 ($55.39) a year. Besides tuition, yearly expenses besides totaled P6,900
of the government’s cost-cutting measures is the rationalization of the
SUCs. In two separate
memoranda by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) in 1999 and 2000,
86 CHED-supervised institutions (CSI) were set for integration into SUCs.
six years, the number of SUCs was reduced by 154 (i.e., from 264 in 1998
to 111 in 2004).
Increases in tuition and other fees
by the demand to increase subsidy for education, Arroyo has told SUCs to
become “self-reliant.” To many SUCs, the presidential directive on
financial autonomy meant imposing tuition and other fee hikes, generating
income by privatizing services, selling assets and allowing private
corporations to invest.
In the country’s premier state university, the University of the Philippines (UP), de facto tuition increases happened even earlier - in 1989 - with the adoption of the Socialized Tuition and Financial Assistance Program (STFAP). The program’s supposed objective is to subsidize the cost of education of poor students in varying degrees according to their income brackets.
However, 13 years later or by 2002, 83.6 percent of the total student population of UP ended up paying full tuition. Only 8.6 percent belonged to brackets 1 to 5 (i.e., those who enjoy full waiver of tuition and other fees). With the STFAP’s implementation, the tuition increased from P17 ($0.30) to P300 ($5.36) per unit.
Under the STFAP, the students’ rebracketting resulted in increases in one’s tuition. Many students experienced being reclassified in higher brackets even if there were no increases in their annual family income.
Effective this semester, increases in laboratory fees at UP were imposed in five departments and colleges. The hikes range from P50 ($0.89) to P600 ($10.72).
In 2001, tuition in UP’s graduate schools, initially pegged at P300 ($5.36) per unit, was increased to P500-P700 ($8.93-$12.51) per unit.
Meanwhile, at the Philippine Normal University (PNU), a whopping 400 percent increase in tuition was imposed on the students in 2003. A 100 percent tuiton hike was also imposed in the Technological University of the Philippines (TUP) and the Kalinga Apayao State College in northern Philippines.
In the regions of Bicol and Central Luzon, yearly tuition hikes have been imposed in SUCs since 2003. Early this year, the Cental Luzon State University (CLSU) planned to increase tuition and miscellaneous fees by 298 percent.
Although tuition in the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) remains P12 ($0.21) per unit, several processing fee hikes were imposed recently, ranging from 67 percent to 900 percent. The fine for late enrolment had the highest increase from P10 ($0.18) to P100 ($1.79).
New fees were also collected at PUP. These included shifting form, verification of grades per subject, re-admission fee, change of subject/curriculum/schedule, among many others.
with private corporations
increasing tuition and other fees, SUCs generate income by selling or
leasing land and privatizing part of their operations. For instance,
maintenance and security services were already privatized in UP and PUP.
The UP administration in Diliman, Quezon City has allotted 163.5 hectare or 33 percent of the land of the campus for Science and Technology Parks (S&T Parks). The project covers 98.5 hectares in the north, from Arboretum to the Iglesia ni Cristo compound. Sixty-five hectares along the university’s CP Garcia Avenue has been allotted in the south.
However, the land area for the building of structures for commercial purposes is larger than that for S&T facilities. These include product manufacturing, hotel, shopping center, supermarkets, gym, swimming pool, theaters, financial institutions, specialty stores, leisure facilities, warehouse, entertainment center, 24-hour helipad, and condominium.
In a memorandum of agreement (MoA) between the UP administration and the Ayala Foundation, UP was relegated to facilitating access to the expertise and skills of university’s faculty and other personnel while allowing the latter to undertake profitable enterprises.
the MoA stated, “Any intellectual property rights created by or vested
as a result of outputs from joint research and development activities, if
any, of the University and the Foundation under this agreement shall be
jointly owned by them.”
project is the construction of a dormitory called the Diliman Hostel. A
tie-up with the private developer New City Builders (NCB), the
top-of-the-line dormitory can house about 2,100 students.
In the final terms of agreement, however, the NCB
has the authority to fix the lodging rates. This is consistent with
one of the objectives of the project—to turn the Hostel into a viable
and profitable enterprise for both parties.
cuts in the budget of SUCs and the entry of private investors in state
tertiary education, various teachers and youth groups say, only indicate
government move to abandon public education while earning revenues through
privatization and commercialiation. Nowhere is this more evident then in
government’s Long-Term Higher Education Development Plan (LTHDP) for
plan prescribes the following targets for 2010: (1) the reduction of the
number of SUCs by 20 percent; (2) the conversion of six SUCs to
semi-corporations; (3) the generation of income by 20 percent of SUCs
through the sale of intellectual property rights and grants; (4) the
establishment of active income-generating projects in 50 percent of SUCs;
(5) the pegging of tuition rates similar to that of private schools in 70
percent of SUCs; and (6) the collaboration with big businesses of 60
percent of SUCs.
programs on education such as the Higher Education Modernization Act
(HEMA, 1997) and Philippine Agenda for Education Reforms (PAER) are
consistent with the LTHDP.
authorizes the Boards of Regents of SUCs to fix tuition and other fee
increases. SUCs are directed to enter into joint ventures with private
corporations and to privatize services such as
health, food, maintenance, security and others.
of the PAER, meanwhile, include the reduction of the MOOE; adoption of
schemes of cost recovery and maximum utilization of assets; and the
seeking of donor support locally, nationally and internationally, from the
corporate sector, alumni, institutions and individuals.
policies on education were formulated based on the recommendations of the
International Monetary Fund, World Bank and Asian Development Bank. Even
the proposed revisions to the UP Charter, as embodied in Senate Bill No.
2587, are fashioned after the LTHEDP, HEMA and PAER.
Amid the commercialization and privatization schemes, the Arroyo presidency only showed lip service to public tertiary education and allowed it to be gobbled up by profit-oriented enterpreneurs. Will it be any different now under a new administration that is run by the same president? Bulatlat.com