June 23, 2017

CHED Chair scored for discouraging students to go to college; Students liken Licuanan to labor exploiter & dictator “Lola Nidora”

The National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) scored the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) for downplaying the right to college education of every Filipino. No less than CHED Chair Patricia Licuanan herself listlessly said: “We don’t think that every student really should go to college.” As if that remark was not enough, Licuanan furthered her inuendo: “(B)ut in our culture, we have that notion that everyone should get a college diploma. I don’t think that’s necessary.”

CHED, Licuanan: Appendages of Aquino’s Neoliberal Education Policies

NUSP believes that what CHED Chair Licuanan said is “not necessary,” is way out of line, and looks down on the Filipino students and youth. NUSP strongly asks: Who is she to bar the Filipino students’ and youth’s right to college education? Who is she to decide that not all students have the right to go to college? Who is she to tell us that not all students deserve to go to college? Who is she to hinder the students from achieving higher education? Shouldn’t the CHED chair be ensuring that all Filipinos attain a college degree and a liberating education?

It is then plain and simple: CHED and Licuanan are the main appendages of Aquino’s neoliberal policies in education. Morevoer, they are political and economic bigots. Why? CHED’s mandate is to ensure that the constitutional right of every Filipino to education at all levels should be met. But as it is, CHED and Licuanan are the stumbling blocks to achieving quality, free tertiary education.

Licuanan is PH Education’s “Lola Nidora”

The student union likens CHED Chair Licuanan to the fictional grandmother-dictator and labor exploiter “Lola Nidora” played by Wally Bayola in Eat Bulaga’s Aldub Kalye-serye. Lola Nidora has spewed violent words and actions to hinder the fictional romance between Alden Richards and Yaya Dub played by Maine Mendoza. Licuanan, just like Lola Nidora, eviscerates lies and concocts myths like “We don’t think that every student really should go to college” or K to 12 is “a good program.”

NUSP believes that grandmothers, historically and culturally in the Philippines, are educators, and protectors of the interests of the younger generation. However, Licuanan, just like Lola Nidora, is not grandmotherly at all and does not value education. Instead of dreaming and ensuring that the youth of today attain a college degree and a liberative education, Licuanan favors only a few and disenfranchises the majority.

K to 12 and RPHER: Student, Labor Exploitation

Like Lola Nidora who exploits Yaya Dub as a paid laborer – a property at her disposal – Licuanan treats the Filipino youth as mere products, as cheap and docile labor for global export, as milking cows for greedy school capitalists. Under Aquino’s neoliberal education policies of K to 12 and the Roadmap to Public Higher Education Reforms (RPHER), CHED consigns the Filipino youth to take technical and vocational course, instead of supporting them and fighting for their right to tertiary education. Isn’t this “a bunch of neoliberal stupidity coming from an education commission?”

In fact, last July, as if adding insult to injury, CHED released a memo that dictates that undergraduate students who stopped schooling are only given until academic year 2017-2018 to finish their bachelor’s degrees. Otherwise, the Outcomes-based Education Curriculum and the Revised General Education Curriculum to be completed will entail them to go to Senior High School first. Most of these undergraduate students dropped out of school due to the high cost of education. The new memo, thus, doubly victimizes them. Sending them to Senior High School only means additional financial burden to the already economically burdened.

The student union firmly believes that education is a basic fundamental right. It is thus an affront to humanity that CHED and Licuanan treat college education as a privilege for a few, while millions of Filipino youth are deprived of free and quality education. CHED should be upholding the constitutional and universal right of every Filipino citizen to free and quality education for all, but they choose to be an inutile and senseless commission that intensifies the commercialization and privatization of education in the Philippines.

Budget Cuts, Tuition and OSF Hikes

The Filipino youth has been trying to get by with so little. Budget cuts to state education and stratospheric tuition and other school fees (OSF) in both state and private universties, dropouts, out-of-school youth and all the deplorable conditions of the Philippine education system have been hounding the Filipino students and youth. Thus, Licuanan’s very statement is utterly insulting and insensitive to the plight of Filipino youth.

Aside from being a stampad of tuition and OSF increas, Aquino, CHED and Licuanan are butchers of the youth’s future. They have pushed the students to their limits and have murdered the likes of Kristel Tejada, Rosanna San Fuejo, and Jhomary Azaula, among others.

We are challenging CHED Chair Licuanan to a public debate regarding the issues of education as a right, skyrocketing tuition and OSF increases, the Socialized Tuition System (STS), the profiteering of greedy school owners, and CHED’s involvement in corruption via the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) insertions in the commission’s programs.

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