May 28, 2017

NUSP leads national day of action for free education, denounces free tuition scam

The National Union of Students in the Philippines (NUSP) with different progressive student organizations led the National Day of Action for Free Education and held a picket protest in front of Commission on Higher Education (CHED) main office.

Months after its pronouncements of finally providing free public tertiary education, the Duterte administration, through CHED and DBM, released the guidelines for the grant of free tuition. After examining the provisions of the guidelines, several progressive youth and student groups dubbed the policy as the ‘free tuition scam.’

“Education is an inalienable and inherent right of every individual. It should be enjoyed by everyone without any qualification or discrimination. With this principle, we staunchly oppose the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for the free tuition scam released by CHED and Department of Budget and Management (DBM),” said NUSP National Spokesperson Mark Vincent Lim.

“The provisions in the IRR clearly go against the core of our demand of free education for all. The government deceived us into believing that it is willing to respond to our demands, and then betrayed us in the last minute. Instead of providing free public tertiary education, what the government really wants is to expand the socialized tuition scheme to all state universities and colleges (SUCs),” Lim explained.

“On top of this betrayal, many private higher education institutions have made it clear that they plan to raise their tuition for the upcoming academic year, with CHED paving the way for the increases. All of these show that the Duterte government is still fixated in implementing neoliberal policies of commercialization on tertiary education. These very same policies have pushed generations of Filipinos to a more depressing state of poverty and exclusion.” Lim added.

“That is why it is vital that the Filipino youth continue the struggle in asserting our rights. We call for no tuition collection in all SUCs and free education for all at all levels, and a stop to all neoliberal policies in education.” Lim added.

The NUSP has stated that they are poised to launch a new wave of protest actions as the opening of classes loom closer. They promised that they will intensify their calls and will not cease until this government provides the Filipino youth what is theirs by right. The group also stated that they will occupy CHED if their demand of free tuition for all will not be given.

“Today, the students who joined this protest have decisively raised their voices and fists against the structures and policies that have long been strangulating the nation. We will unite, fight back, and struggle to uphold a nationalist, scientific, and mass-oriented education for all,” Lim concluded.

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