Stand for the rights and welfare of the student masses! High quality and affordable education for all!

Summer vacation has started, every student is excited to come home and have a vacation – a rest from the hectic school schedule. It is the time to settle the remaining accounts and to comply with the course’s necessary requirements. Before the school year ends, additional burden will be borne by our parents.

 All major colleges and universities will have a hike on their tuition and other fees. About 300 private colleges and universities across the country applied for an increase in tuition fees this coming school year. An average 108% increase nationwide, with the NCR at 148% increase. Higher education in the Philippines is composed of 2,247 schools with 110 SUC’s. Largely 88% of tertiary schools are private and with only 12% are public.

In Davao Region, 41 schools or almost half of Higher Learning Institution petitioned for tuition fee increase for the school year 2012 to 2013, CHED. As of Feb.27, 44% of the 93 HEI in the region petitioned to hike their school fees and 24 HEIs from Davao City. Last year, 324 HEIs or 14.34% of the colleges and universities nationwide increased their school fees with a national increase rate average of 10.62% and 31 universities and colleges in Davao region increased their respective tuition as much as 20%.

Presently, “consultation” is being facilitated this quarter as mandated by CHED.  However, is this really a genuine consultation among the stake holders of the institution? Or is it just a venue for the management to present their reasons and justification for the said increases?

In several private educational institutions, other charges in the Miscellaneous Fees include those for Capital outlay for new buildings (supposed to be capital expansion but listed as Development Fee) and Maintenance Costs for existing structures (supposed to be covered by Operating Cost and thus included in the Tuition Fee but listed as Facilities Improvement Fee and other fees for that matter).  Through such charges, new capital is raised publicly (through collection from students), even as the private owners retain private control over the institution.

Meanwhile the state reneges on its responsibility to the youth by reducing subsidies to tertiary education. Thus, it leaves the state-run universities and colleges the task to employ various income generating schemes (rapid increase in tuition fees and other fees) and cost cutting measures to continue operations.

The overall impact of the spiraling cost of education is an increasingly prohibitive educational system that is even compounded by the current global crisis, when families are still coping with the escalating prices of food, the charges on the basic utilities as power, fuel, water and transport. Families therefore scrimp to send their children to tertiary schools. Meanwhile, private corporations investing in education report record income. Never before has tertiary education been as commercialized as it is now!

Worse, policies affecting the youth’s education are done without democratic consultation. Students are thus not trained on responsible decision-making; kept ignorant on issues affecting them; or if informed, are simply made to accept them uncritically.

Higher institutions of learning are supposed to be training grounds for democracy-to the ideals and thus practice, of democracy as a way of life. That authoritarianism continue to flourish, even in institutions of learning, is again instructive of how the country’s educational system fails to inculcate among youth a humanist, liberating, democratic culture that instills critical thinking.

We the youth, have a right to education; to acquire, and benefit from, the knowledge developed by human kind, and use it to further humanity’s advance. Our seniors, be they in the public or private sector, must start looking at us not simply as markets, but as the successors of human race, the force that can make a better society out of what we have now. If our generation is to assume the role expected of us, then we demand no less than be armed with whatever knowledge human kind has developed, be nurtured and prepared to think and stand for humanity; to value freedom exercised with responsibility; to accept only such authority as stemming from the informed, collective will of those affected, to care for the majority. Rather than to accept the idea or the fact: that education and knowledge is only for the privileged few who can afford it; that one must first and foremost think principally for oneself and one’s family; that authority is reserved for “enlightened few” who can rightly decide for us, the “horde”. We demand to be collectively heard rather than to accept and live with elitism, individualism, authoritarianism, and commercialism.

We the youth demand democratization of services including education!

Render knowledge available to the youth!

Youth for Nationalism and Democracy (YND) 

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