Number of students dropping-out of school to rise due to price hikes

LED by the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), and the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), Student Councils and Governments and Student Publications held simultaneous protest actions and noise barrage in different schools and MRT/LRT stations today to protest the recent oil price hike and the impending fare and tuition fee increase.

Last January 1, President Noynoy Aquino approved toll hikes for the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), South Luzon Expresway (SLEX), and the SCTEX.  A hike in taxi fares was also approved, while there are pending petitions for fare hikes for buses , jeepneys, and the MRT and LRT. Bread and Vegetable prices in the market also rose. And today, oil companies increased the gasoline prices by P0.75 per liter and the diesel and kerosene prices by P1 per liter.

Moreover, NUSP is projecting an impending 10-15% increase in tuition fees for the next school year.

Since 2001, the national average tuition rate has gone up to 94.72%. From the average of P257.41 per unit in A.Y. 2001-2001, the average tuition rate almost doubled to P501.22 for A.Y. 2010-2011.  In the National Capital Region, the average tuition from 2001 up to 2010 has ballooned to 123.06% (P980.54).  Every school year, school owners are implementing an average 10% increase in tuition fees.

Coping with the price hikes

According to the latest Social Weather Stations survey, the number of Filipino families which experienced ‘involuntary’ hunger, and considered themselves poor, rose in the last quarter of 2010.

The daily cost of living now stands at P917 in Metro Manila. Meanwhile, the minimum wage is pegged at P404 a day.

The recently approved and the impending hikes will lead to more students drooping out of school, since daily expenses in schools such as transportation and food, continue to rise, while the wages of workers are not even enough to cope up with the daily needs of the family.

According to the Commission on Higher Education, 80% of high school graduates don’t make it up to college while 40% of enrolled freshmen are not able to continue to second year. Meanwhile, according to the UNESCO’s study in 2008, 73% of the youth were forced to drop out due to the unattainable price of Philippine education. The same study shows that the students’ survival rate from first to fourth year college was only 22 percent.

Meanwhile, in the basic education level, 34% of those who enroll in grade school do not reach Grade 5. More so, 31 out of 100 students who enroll in high school dropout before reaching their senior year. In school year 2005-2006, almost 65 percent of six-year old children did not begin their primary education on time.

The students’ survival rate was placed at 76 percent in 2001 but it went down to 70 percent in 2006. The completion rate was 75 percent in 2001 but it also went down to 68 percent in the same period. D’Jay Lazaro

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