Tuition hikes, shortages welcome students

As school opens today, various youth and student groups led by ANAKBAYAN held a protest action in front of the Department of Education (DepEd) to protest the “worsening education crisis” due to Aquino government’s “flawed” policies.

According to Vencer Crisostomo, ANAKBAYAN national chairperson, shortages in facilities, classrooms and teachers are on the rise due to insufficient spending on education.

“This year there will be a shortage of 132,483 teachers, 97,685 classrooms, and 153,709 water and sanitation facilities this year,” he said, citing data from the Alliance of Concerned Teachers.

According to Crisostomo, the P238.8 billion government allocation for DepEd is grossly insufficient and is equivalent to only P7 per student per day for basic and secondary education. He said it is P300 billion short of the UN recommendation which is 6% of GDP.

“The situation is bound to get worse due as the government implements the K-12. Barya-baryang limos ang inilaan nila sa edukasyon. For instance, the government allotted only P1.9 billion for universal kinder when the required budget is at least P18 billion,” he said.

Crisostomo said that as it is, about half of the youth population aged 11-15 are out of school and the drop-out rate is at 80%.

“More students may be bound to drop-out, hiking the number of out-of-school youth unless the government increases budget and improves access to education. However, so far it has encouraged more tuition hikes and has been insensitive to the plight of parents and students,” said Crisostomo.

Crisostomo said that the tuition rates in private schools have risen as well amidst failure of government to regulate.

“Aquino’s elitist education policies has brought more problems to the education sector. Sa daang matuwid, dumiretso ang edukasyon sa bangin,” said Crisostomo.

According to youth groups, more protests are set this week to call for higher education budget, a stop to tuition increases and the scrapping of the DepEd’s K-12 program.

 

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