Student leaders launch tuition monitor network
THE National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), member councils from the University of the Philippines (UP), Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), Feati University, De La Salle University-Araneta (DLSAU), and UE Caloocan have launched the Tuitioni Monitor Network (TMN) to kick-off the fight against problematic school fee increases.
NUSP Secretary-General Isabelle Baguisi said that “students cannot anymore bear a new round of tuition and school fees increases. The incessant fee increases have caused students to drop out of school. School administrations increase fees autocratically despite disapproval of students during consultations. Also, majority of schools do not conduct democratic and genuine consultations. Consultations have been relegated to information-dissemination instead of genuinely listening to students and parents disapproval of fees increases.”
“There have been yearly complaints from different schools but the complaints never find any resolution. In fact, schools just shrug off complaints since responsible bodies such as the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) seem to just sit on the complaints,” said Orly Putong, chairperson of the UP Diliman’s School of Library and Information Science Student Council.
Baguisi emphasized that “this time around, student leaders are taking an early initiative to prepare for the upcoming tuition and miscellaneous fee consultations through TMN. We are gathering preliminary data, exposing undemocratic consultations, holding trainings, and preparing to campaign against fee increases early in the year. We want to be the ones to push all those responsible to listen to our call of quality and accessible education.”
PUP Central Student Council President Raven Desporado explained that “students should not just rely on CHED to protect our interests against school fees increases. Students should rely on our collective strength and mass movement to win against the incessant fees increases. In PUP, for example, it is through the mass action of students and the council that we have been able to refund the imposed medical fee, to make the PE uniform optional, and to make the PUP system administration be responsible for the freshmen students’ x-ray fee.”
“We are also safeguarding the interests of the youth, the students and their parents most especially that school administrations have been imposing, implementing and collecting fees from students without prior consultations. Add to this the fact that many school fees are actually redundant and over-priced,” said Robert Ryan Gatbonton, President of the Supreme Student Council of DLSAU.
The Tuition Monitor Network, launched at UP DIliman’s Office of the Student Regent, is aimed to gather data regarding proposed school fee increases for next year while keeping an eye out for faulty consultation methods with students.