High school students and youth organizations led by Anakbayan, Kabataan Partylist, League of Filipino Students, and other groups greet the school opening with a campout protest at the Department of Education (DepEd) main office in Pasig City to protest the continued implementation of the K-12 program as well as the approval of tuition and other fees increases in 1,013 elementary and high schools nationwide.

“Continuing the burdensome K-12 and approving tuition hikes in 1,013 schools is mark of the Duterte regime’s adherence to anti-poor neoliberal economics that further commercializes education. This means more hardships for students and their families amidst perennially low wages, persistence of contractualization, and rising cost of basic goods and services,” said Anakbayan National Chairperson Vencer Crisostomo.

Anakbayan hit the way the K-12 program has facilitated big capitalists in the private sector profiting from state subsidies through the voucher system from the implementation of the Senior High School (SHS) program. Data collated by the League of Filipino Students show that STI Computer College earned P1,219,562,500 from the first year of implementation of SHS, with P825,550,000 coming from the government’s voucher system.

Gross Profits from the Voucher System:

Ateneo de Manila P137,170,000
San Beda College P42,152,000
De La Salle University P200,662,000
STI Computer College P825,550,000
AMA Computer University P417,868,000
University of the East P93,104,000
Ayala APEC schools P50,097,600
Far Eastern University P59,664,000
National University P11,054,000
Phinma schools P177,562,000
University of Santo Tomas P98,296,000

The youth group added the K-12 program has only benefited foreign capitalists and big business that now exploits young high school graduates as immediately exportable cheap laborers, explaining the increase in the supply of young workers brought about by measures like the K-12 further pushes wage levels down. The program exacerbates the foreign-investment and import-dependent and export-oriented character of the Philippine economy, the group said.

According to Crisostomo, the continuation of neoliberal policies of deregulation of education by Duterte allows the continued collection of fees, which has already soared to an average of P60,000-80,000 from P30,000-60,000 a year in 2010 thus jacking up profits of big capitalists in education.

“Libreng edukasyon ang panawagan ng mga kabataan at mamamayan. Ibig sabihin, walang koleksyon,” said Crisostomo who called for the junking of the Education Act of 1982 and the Expanded Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education, or GASTPE which legitimized the deregulated collection of tuition and other school fees and provision of state subsidies for private schools.

The youth groups are also gearing for campout protests at the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) on June 7 to push the call for free education for all and a nationalist, scientific, and mass-oriented system of education.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *