First day of class is the first day fight for students’ rights –STRAW Coalition

14 06 2011

13th of June—the first day of academic year 2011-2012, young people from the Students’ Rights and Welfare (STRAW) Coalition gather to illustrate the ‘unfree’ education system and jumpstart the 200-day battle for quality and accessible education.

Young people from STRAW Coalition express their sentiments with their bodies locked by a long chain and covered with school receipts to show the confinement of students’ rights and welfare for a long time and the burden of continuing increase of tuition and other fees, respectively.

Chains of campus repression, education deregulation, tuition increase, accessiblity and quality of education are the five issues of education highlighted by the coalition which they said, are needed to be unlocked.

“We are very alarmed by the reports that we have been receiving for the past years.” STRAW Coalition National Spokesperson Leanne Torrato expressed.

A research made by the Center for Youth Advocacy and Networking (CYAN), a youth non-government organization shows that there’s a vast number of students’ rights and welfare violation such as non-itemized miscellaneous fees, discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students, control of school paper, discrimination of student organizations and fraternities, and mandatory charging for review fees, to name a few.

A concrete instance revealed by the study was the case of Aquinas University where the students were obliged to pay for school publication but the students were not able to receive any school paper.

Another documented case was the case of Joseph Carumay, 21, a high school graduate from the Alternative Learning Sytem (ALS) of Makati who was not able to continue his college schooling due to very high tuition which his family cannot afford.

“Joseph’s case is just one of those numerous cases where a student cannot advance to college schooling due to high tuition. This occurrence is merely because of the government’s loose grip in education. This is very evident in the latest appropriations.” Student Council Alliance of the Philippines (SCAP) National Secretary-General Gibby Gorres disclosed.

The government’s summary of appropriations for this year shows that the budget alloted for state universities and colleges amounts to P21.7B compared to the P1.1T allotment for automatic appropriations and debt servicing. The total new appropriations for this year excluding the budget for automatic appropriations and debt servicing amounts to P1T.

The Coalition also hit the K-12 proposal which aims to extend the basic education to 12 years and tagged it as ‘an inappropriate education reform move’.

“The K-12 proposal is good as it aims to focus on the basic education. However, we see this as inappropriate, at least, for the current education situation. Out of 100 elementary students, only 12 of them will graduate because of the problem in the accessibilty of education. Extending the basic education to 12 years will not solve this problem. For that, we propose to craft a national policy that will address the education derregulation and inaccessiblity.” Akbayan Youth Spokesperson Richelle Santiago explained.

The group demands for the passage of the Magna Carta of Students that has been on deck in the Committee on Higher and Technical Education of the Philippine Congress for more than a decade already. The bill has been in the Philippine Congress for quite some time already and according to the group, it seems like the legislators don’t realize the urgent need to pass the bill. In this line, the STRAW Coalition decided to take the campaign for the passage of the Magna Carta of Students onto a much higher level.

“We do believe that it is a grand insult already for this bill to be pending in the congress for such a long time when in fact, it’s one of the most important bills that the government should prioritize.” Santiago expressed. “For the next 200 days, we will join the Filipino youth and students on their continuing battle for quality and accessible education.” Santiago warned.

The STRAW Coalition also committed to constantly lobby for the passage of the bill and conduct series of pressure actions until the HoR hears their sentiments and realizes the necessity of this policy.

The Students’ Rights and Welfare Coalition is a broad coalition of different student councils, youth and student groups and individuals all over the country which share a common demand for upholding the students’ rights and welfare and for the passage of the Students’ Rights and Welfare Bill. ###

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Students seek regulation of ‘imaginative’ fees in colleges

6 06 2011

02-Jun-11, 5:52 PM | Philippine News Agency

http://www.interaksyon.com/article/4733/students-ask-for-regulation-of-imaginative-miscellaneous-fees-in-private-colleges

Student groups asked the government on Thursday to regulate the collection of  miscellaneous fees by private universities and colleges, saying the unregulated fees are being abused by schools to circumvent stricter rules on tuition hikes.

During a Senate inquiry on school fees, Ranulfo Javelosa of the Student Council Alliance of the Philippines said private schools may not have increased tuition fees, but they are making up and collecting various kinds of miscellaneous fees, such as “spiritual development fees”, “publicity and promotions fees”, “affiliation fees”, “cultural fees” and “computerization fees”.

He said some schools are even collecting “energy fees” aside from “aircon fees”, “resumé printing fees” and “stones and pebbles fees” that if totaled would be higher than the tuition itself.

Senator Edgardo Angara proposed short- and long-term fixes to excessive school fees in higher education, which is believed to be a major factor in increasing dropout rates.

According to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), only 324 out of the 1,611 privately run higher education institutions (HEIs) in the country were allowed to raise their tuition this year by an average of 14.37 percent.

The increase ranges from P72.77 per unit among HEIs in Metro Manila to P50.44 per unit among those in Central Luzon.

State universities and colleges are prohibited from increasing their fees while 80 percent of 63 deregulated local universities and colleges increased fees by 5 percent to 10 percent.

CHED does not regulate miscellaneous fees among HEIs.

“Some schools charge imaginative and redundant charges, which sometimes end up costing more than the actual tuition of the students,” Angara said. “Short of putting a cap on tuition or other fees, we must draw up a uniform classification of miscellaneous fees that should be allowed.”

“CHED must be proactive in solving these problems,” he added.

Over the long term, he said that a legislative measure addressing miscellaneous fees in HEIs should be crafted.

“Disparity between the cost of private and public education is growing greater. Private colleges now cost five to 10 times more than our state colleges and universities. We must make higher education more accessible – not less attainable – for Filipino students,” Angara said.#





Youth group to lawmakers: Re-channel debt service to education budget

6 06 2011

http://www.interaksyon.com/article/4987/youth-group-to-lawmakers-re-channel-debt-service-to-education-budget

06-Jun-11, 8:28 AM | InterAksyon.com

MANILA, Philippines — Re-channel the huge debt service budget to education, this is the “assignment” of members of the Youth Against Debt (YAD) for Congress.

In a statement, the coalition of different youth and student groups and organizations said it will stage a protest action outside the House of Representatives today to coincide with the first day of classes in public elementary and high school.

Citing data collated by the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC), YAD said that Aquino’s education spending this year amounts only 2.44% of the Gross National Product (GNP), still way below the recommendation of the Delors Commission under the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) of 6% of GNP.

According to FDC, average education expenditures as percentage of GNP of previous administrations are as follows: (Cory) Aquino, 2.74%; Ramos, 3.10%; Estrada, 2.89%; and, Arroyo, 2.10%.

According to YAD: “The current targets to address shortages in teachers, classrooms, chairs and textbooks will just only be mere propaganda to mask the sad truth about the Philippine educational system unless debt servicing will be de-emphasized over the education budget.”

As of 2011, the government admitted that it lacks around 100,000 teachers, 150,000 classrooms, 13.5 million chairs, and 95.5 million textbooks to ensure quality education.

 

In the tertiary level, several private higher education institutions increased their tuition  while the state universities and colleges, even if they did not increase tuition , have hiked their miscellaneous fees contrary to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) assurance that there will be no increase of fees in SUCs.

As part of its main campaign for re-channeling debt service budget to social services such as education, YAD proposes an automatic appropriation for education pegged at 6% of the projected GNP, as required by the Delors Commission standard for education spending.#

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





RESOLUTION URGING THE ADOPTION OF PROPOSED SENATE RESOULTION NO. 488

2 06 2011

RESOLUTION URGING THE ADOPTION OF PROPOSED SENATE RESOULTION NO. 488

 

 

WHEREAS, the Student Council Alliance of the Philippines is a formation of student councils, political parties, organizations and young leaders in the country with member-schools in more than 60 provinces and 100 cities nationwide.

 

WHEREAS, the Alliance also commits itself to actively strive for progressive and positive change within the society in which it exists.

 

WHEREAS, the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines stipulates that it is the responsibility of the State to “protect and promote the right of all citizens to quality education at all levels, and shall take appropriate steps to make such education accessible to all.”

 

WHEREAS, the Alliance believes that the unabated rise of the costs of education has greatly diminished the ability of the common Filipino to enjoy this right.

 

WHEREAS, several tertiary education institutions have undertaken hikes in their tuition fees and/or raised funds from the charging of miscellaneous fees, with the latter falling outside the purview of the Commission on Higher Education.

 

WHEREAS, the Alliance believes that the inability of concerned government agencies to prevent unreasonable, excessive and unjust increases in tuition and other fees of tertiary education institutions has greatly impaired access to relevant and quality education and is tantamount to a denial of a basic social citizenship right.

 

WHEREAS, the Alliance believes that CHED and/or other government agencies must be empowered by further legislation to protect Filipino students from unwarranted and abusive hikes of not only tuition fees, but also of miscellaneous and other fees.

 

WHEREAS, the Alliance believes that it is in the best interest of the student sector for concerned agencies and institutions to look into the matter of miscellaneous fees charged by schools, with the view of rationalizing and itemizing allowable fees.

 

WHEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED AS IT IS RESOLVED, that the Student Council Alliance of the Philippines strongly supports the adoption of Proposed Senate Resolution No. 488, urging pertinent Senate Committees to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on the reported increases of miscellaneous fees imposed by some colleges and universities, which add to the burden of high tuition costs, with the end in view of rationalizing and itemizing allowable miscellaneous charges in the interest of transparency.

SR 488: http://www.senate.gov.ph/lisdata/112979597!.pdf