August 14, 2017

NUSP leads campout protest in CHED, slams flawed free tuition policy and new round of tuition hikes

The National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) led student organizations and youth groups in a campout protest at the national office of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to oppose the flawed free tuition policy and the new round of hikes in tuition and other school fees (OSF).

“Not only has CHED implemented a flawed free tuition policy, it has also approved tuition and other school fees hikes in higher educational institutions (HEIs),” said NUSP National Spokesperson Mark Vincent Lim.

Earlier this quarter, the Department of Budget  and Management (DBM) and CHED released the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the free tuition policy for Academic Year 2017-2018. Under the scheme, students who are recipients of Student Financial Assistance Programs (StuFAPs) and those who belong to a household that is or was a beneficiary of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) will be prioritized. The remaining students eligible will be “ranked according to their per capita household income”, similar in essence to the University of the Philippines’ Socialized Tuition System (STS).

“The IRR of the free tuition policy clearly translates it to a nationwide socialized tuition system where students are subjected to a competition of “poorest of the poor” to prove their worthiness. In SUCs, students are required to submit documents to prove their status of indigence and to avail of free tuition,” said Lim.

“Students do not need another scholarship or financial assistance program. What we need is for school administrators to stop the collection of tuition and other school fees,” stressed Lim.

Meanwhile, CHE has approved the increase in tuition and other school fees in 268 private higher education institutions (HEIs). Tuition hike will be implemented in 262 of the HEIs, while 237 institutions will increase other school fees.

“Every year, CHED sells out to the interests of capitalist-educators who extract large amounts of profit from students through the skyrocketing cost of education. Administrators of private schools justify these increases by linking these to the supposed increases in teachers’ salary, K-12 implementation, and their so-called losses. This is in spite of the fact that many of these institutions are included in the Philippines’ most profitable corporations.”, said Lim.

“The flawed free tuition policy and the approved hikes in tuition and other school fees, plus the implementation of the burdensome K to 12 program, mark the Duterte administration’s adherence to the anti-poor neoliberal economics that further commercializes education,” said Lim.

“The Union calls on the Filipino youth and the general public to intensify our struggle for free education for all. Our collective and persistent efforts to press the government to advance our right to education has already gained ground and achieved tactical victories. Now, more than ever, we should mount sustained and increasing protests nationwide to demonstrate our firm resolve for free education,” concluded Lim.

Reference:
Mark Vincent D. Lim
NUSP National Spokesperson
(+63) 917 565 4963

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