Intensifying commercialization and neoliberal attacks on education hit

Youth and students led by Anakbayan and other progressive youth groups today launched a 2-day campout protest at the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) main office to press the repeal of tuition and other school fees hikes in 268 private universities and colleges nationwide and condemn the intensifying commercialization of education.

“We condemn the continuing implementation of neoliberal policies of deregulation in education by the Duterte regime. Change has clearly not come in education where Filipino families continue to suffer from the yearly increase of tuition and collection of burdensome school fees,” said Anakbayan National Chairperson Vencer Crisostomo.

Tuition hikes

Hundreds of youth trooped to the Ched main office in C.P. Garcia Ave., Diliman, Quezon City starting noontime today, June 7, and will be camping out there overnight until June 8. The protesters pressed for the implementation of free education at all levels against the continued collection of fees and siphoning of profits from students and their families.

“Education should be a right. The reality however is students and their families suffer from soaring fees as big capitalists earn big profits from transforming education into a big business,” said Crisostomo. He said continued deregulation has meant average cost of tuition increasing to P60,000-80,000 per semester from P30,000-60,000 in 2010.

Of the 268 tertiary education institutions, 262 will increase tuition at an average of P86.68 per unit while 237 universities will increase other school fees (OSFs) at an average of P243. The average rate of tuition increase increased from a P40 per unit hike last school year to an P86 per unit increase this school opening.

Free Education

Anakbayan also hit Ched-Department of Budget and Management (DBM) for creating schemes that makes it difficult for iskolars ng bayan to benefit from the Free Tuition Policy based on an P8 billion budget allocation which will be implemented this new school year in State Universities and Colleges (SUCs).

“Rather than providing free education for all students, Ched-DBM has pushed to prioritize supposedly poor but deserving students. This seemingly noble motive is no different from the socialized tuition scheme in UP which pushed more youth to pay fees, tuition hikes, and encouraged the siphoning of profits,” said Crisostomo.

The group also warned of the same dangers face the newly-approved “Universal Access on Quality Tertiary Education”, which on top of the dangers of imposing higher tuition and other school fees on “unqualified students”, also provides state subsidies to ensure profits for private universities.

Anakbayan is pushing for the junking of the Marcosian Education Act of 1982 and the Ched Memorandum Order Number 3 Series of 2012 and other neoliberal policies of deregulation and privatization, which the group asserts pave the way for the unregulated collection of tuition and other school fees.

 

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