SONAngaling!: Student Union Scores Aquino’s SONA 2015 on Education
The National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) counters BS Aquino III’s claims on education in hist sixth and last State of the Nation Address (SONA) and calls it “SONAngaling!” or “A SONA of Lies.” While Aquino boasts of his sugarcoated victories in the field of education, the real state of Philippine education is revealed by NUSP’s numerous researches and grassroots work summarized in the series touted as State of the Youth Address (SOYA).
“The figures cannot be denied by the magician and crook by the name of Benigno: we have an annual college dropout of 2.3 million and an annual out of school children and youth of 15 million,” reveals Sarah Jane Elago, NUSP National President.
NUSP also stressed that while the Aquino administration claims that it has increased the enrollment by 1.7 million, thereby supposedly reducing the number of out of school children in 2013 to 1.2 million, majority of public school children are in dire conditions. With dilapidated classrooms, a dearth of textbooks and public school teachers, and with a classroom overflowing with 50 to 60 pupils, it may indeed be true what Aquino opined: “Para po nating pinuno ng estudyante ang humigit-kumulang 42,500 na bakanteng classroom.” This ultimately is not an ideal condition of learning and teaching – quality education is sacrificed all because government budget on education is insufficient.
“Aquino also cannot deny the fact that deregulation via the Education Act of 1982 has murdered Philippine education. Tuition and other school fees (OSF) increases have hounded the whole of the education sector. That is why the said act should be repealed! As a matter of fact, in the basic and secondary levels, more than 1,200 applications for tuition fee increase this AY 2015-2016 were approved by the Department of Education. In the tertiary level, more than 300 application sfor tuition and OSF increases were approved by the Commission on Higher Education,” furthers Elago.
NUSP’s Tuition Monitor Network revealed that the cost of basic and secondary education ranges from P80,000 to P120,000 annually, while the cost of tertiary education ranges from P60,000 to P80,000 per semester. College education per year normally means two semesters but a number of schools are trimestral and quarterly, meaning the P60,000 to P80,000 range would be multiplied by three or four semesters. Other school fees alone average a whopping P20,000 per semester.
“This is neoliberalization of education! This means intensifying the privatization of education, and commercializing public or state education. Aquino’s Roadmap to Public Higher Education Reforms (RPHER) further privatizes and commercializes public higer education. Privatization comes in the form of tuition and other school fees increases. Education is geared towards producing cheap and docile labor, prime example is the K to 12 program and RPHER with their technical-vocational centrality: many laborers for a cheap price to work for global companies abroad,” adds Elago.
NUSP scored Aquino for not only lying between his teeth regarding the real state of education and of the whole nation. NUSP said that the chief executive has forgotten to mention in his SONA that Aquino is a murderer, literally and figuratively, of the Filipino students and youth.
“We will never forget that Aquino killed students and youth because of the perennial tuition and other school fees increases, on top of the already destitute conditions of their families. We will never forget that Aquino murdered Kristel Tejada, Rosanna Sanfuego, and Jhomary Azaula, all students of state universities and colleges,” stresses Elago.
NUSP said that Aquino’s SONA is a cacophony lies trying to hide the murderous administration. But the students and youth are far from merely accepting and embracing the lies and crimes peddled by the SONAngaling President.