Youth group to Aquino, CHED: Stop tuition hikes now

MEMBERS of youth group called on Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) and President Bewnigno Aquino to impose a moratorium on tuition and other fee increases nationwide.

According to Vencer Crisostomo, Anakbayan national chairperson, President Aquino and CHED should immediately order a halt in all tuition and other fee increases amidst rising drop-out rates and record high poverty and unemployment.

“The Aquino government should be more sensitive to the plight of students and their parents. Many families are no longer able to send their children to school due to skyrocketing expenses,” he said.

CHED earlier announced that 267 schools are set to increase tuition by around 10%. Crisostomo said that the actual number could be much higher as CHED did not include in their list miscellaneous and other fees.

Crisostomo said that even public universities such as University of the Philippines, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Mindanao State University, which are supposed to provide accessible education are increasing school fees. This situation, which he said is a direct effect of the cuts in the budget for state universities and colleges is “deplorable.”

“Mukhang sa tuwid na daan, walang preno ang tuition increases. Aquino and CHEd is noynoying regarding tuition hikes and is abandoning its responsibility to provide quality and accessible education. As it is, 80% of college students do not graduate mainly due to high costs,” he said.

Crisostomo said the school fee hikes that the CHED has approved are “unjust and unwarranted” as many schools are “profiteering.”

“The top private schools in the country are raking hundreds of millions in superprofits. The big schools are consistently in the top 1000 corporations. Meanwhile parents and students are being made to pay dubious, redundant and exorbitant fees,” he said.

Crisostomo contested CHED’s claim that the fee hikes underwent proper “consultation” processes.

“Student leaders have filed their opposition to the tuition hikes in these so-called consultations but have been approved anyway by CHED. The CHED automatically approves proposals for tuition hikes regardless of their nature. In this sense, they are in cahoots with ‘capitalist-educators’ in robbing students,” Crisostomo said.

Crisostomo reminded the government of its constitutional duty to provide “quality and accessible education in all levels.”

“We should remind President Aquino that unlike him not everyone is born a haciendero. Majority of the people are poor and hungry and will simply not be able to afford a new round of tuition hikes,” he said.

Crisostomo said Aquino should immediately order a moratorium on all tuition increases this year, regulate tuition rates and scrap dubious fees, and increase significantly the budget for SUCs and education.

“Ultimately, the government should remember that education is a right, not a privilege of the rich,” he said.

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