SCAP Demands for Congressional Legislation on Tuition Increases

12 06 2007

As the new academic year comes forth, the student sector faces yet another predicament as more then 80 private universities and colleges in Metro Manila alone increased their tuition. CHED through its memoranda nos. 42, 13, 5, 14 and 7, set out its guidelines in tuition and other fee increases. Student Council Alliance of the Philippines manifests its critique against the inefficiency of CHED’s policies in upholding the welfare of students. [See media coverage here and here].

“Despite the commemoration of our Independence Day, the youth are once again massing up to condemn unreasonable tuition increase of a number of private and state universities and colleges, as such incident had stripped them off of their right to education,” says Ms. Paula Bianca Lapuz, SCAP National Secretary General.

Instead of trying to ensure that all stajeholders’ interests are met, CHED simply shrugs its shoulders over the issue of genuine democratic participation in the decision-making process of different private universities and colleges on matters of school fee increases. It even legalized the collection of “other fees”.

CHED’s policy on tuition cap is but a superficial effort to regulate the exorbitant tuition hikes of private institutions, it does not, in any way, resolve the problem. This policy legitimized annual tuition increases. Even state universities and colleges have not escaped the inevitable tuition hikes, as University of the Philippineshad a 300% raise in tuition, despite the fact that it gets the biggest share of the budget of SUC’s.

Student Council Alliance of the Philippines perceives the picric reality of a deepening crisis in our education system.Such instances only imply a worsening state of commercialization, deregulation, and misprioritization of education in this country.

“Commission on Higher Education has blatantly approved and supported the TFI’s, defending the hikes throroughly in all media interviews, but the irreularity of the process seemed more dubious then ever,” say SCAP National Chairperson, Mr. Mark Roy Boado.

“Some students even related to our member student councils that their schools merely convened and informed the students about the fee hikes,” Mr. Boado continued.

“Students, even in private universities and colleges, deserve to have a bargaining power over matters that will directly affect them. Education is not merely a political rigth but rather a social right. AS such, administrations should be wary of their unnecessary and indiscriminate school fee hikes. It is a crime to outwardly belittle the capacity of the students in crucial decision-making processes of the university,” Mr. Mark Roy Boado further clarified.

“CHED should never, in anyway, insinuate that, tuition hikes are perfectly okay because students from private universities and colleges can opt to move to state universities and colleges, which, by the way, annually experience budget cuts. The alliance is alarmed, more than ever, because it forsees a boost in the number of out of school youth. 14.6 million were not able to study last year, how much more will there be this year because of TFI’s?” Ms. Tina Langit, SCAP NCR Chairperson added.

It is in this light that SCAP pushes for peanlizing unreasonable and unjust tuition and otehr fee increases. The newly elected legislature should take head and ensure that students’ rights and welfare are assured within the academic institutions. SCAP asserts that a bill should be accomplished in Congress, which would penalize schools that do not really go through the rigid process of consultation and debates among stakeholders,” Ms. Langit stressed.

“Tuition hikes cannot be implemented unless there is an immediate, necessary, inevitable, and jutifiable reason for it. We insist that the 14th Congress do something about the worsening state of education in our country,” Ms. Lapuz stated.

“CHED ought to strengthen their institution so that it may benefit all the stakeholders of higher learning bodies. It is high time that student councils assert the power of their constituencies by engaging education issues,” Ms. Lapuz emphasized.

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