August 21, 2017

Student union slams removal of free tuition provision in proposed 2018 budget, asserts free education for all

The National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) condemns in the strongest terms the removal of provisions for free tuition in all state universities and colleges (SUCs)in the proposed 2018 budget.
“We are appalled by the manner in which the Duterte administration is willing to borrow billions to fund various infrastructure projects and to increase the budget for debt servicing and defense, while abruptly defunding free tuition in SUCs,” said NUSP National Spokesperson Mark Vincent Lim.

The Union discredits claims made by the Duterte administration’s economic managers that the government cannot afford to provide free tuition for all. “How come the government cannot afford to provide free education for all when the government’s infrastructure program “Build, Build, Build” gets P1.097 trillion or almost a third (1/3) of the national budget?” asked Lim.

“Their claim that free tuition will have a very little impact on poor families, citing that only twelve percent (12%) of the poor are able to enter SUCs, is ignorant of the reasons why in the first place they are out-of-school, and makes free tuition for all even more necessary,” said Lim.

“We are also aghast at how Duterte’s economic managers are very insistent on denying free education in SUCs just to prevent the exodus of students from private higher education institutions (HEIs) and the loss of profit for capitalist-educators,” added Lim.

“The removal of provisions for free tuition in the proposed 2018 budget is a disservice to the Filipino people, and it reflects the neoliberal and anti-people thrust of the Duterte administration,” said Lim.

“The Filipino youth’s collective and militant struggle for free education for all continues as tuition and other school fees collection, profiteering schemes, and neoliberal policies on education remain in place. Students and youth nationwide will mount sustained protests, particularly on August 31 (Thursday), to assert our fundamental right to free education,” concluded Lim.

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