Various youth groups led by Anakbayan and League of Filipino Students today called for the repeal of Education Act of 1982 or Batas Pambansa 232, saying the law has “paved the way for further commercialization of education, and has strengthened its colonial, backward and fascist character.”
The law was enacted exactly 30 years ago by then President Ferdinand Marcos and has been one of the “legacies” of his fascist rule.
“This Martial Law creation is still very much alive. It has served as the framework of every president after Marcos for our country’s educational system — which is in worse shape than ever,” said Vencer Crisostomo, national chairperson of youth group Anakbayan.
Crisostomo said this framework has led to an “addiction” to tuition increases and ”abandonment” of government role to provide quality, and accessible education.
“It was made to benefit abusive capitalist-educators, many were cronies of Marcos, and to provide as framework for reduced spending for education in favor of militarization and war. It has since also set a framework for fascist, colonial education and anti-progressive education which pervades until today,” he said.
Crisostomo said this flawed framework continues under the current Aquino government and its education policies.
“Tuition rates have been skyrocketing, and commercialization of state schools have intensified due to successive budget cuts. Aquino is no different from Marcos when it comes to education,” he said.
More than 267 tertiary schools have increased tuition this year by as much as 15%. The actual number could be much higher as government does not monitor “miscellaneous” and other fees.
State universities and colleges such as University of the Philippines (UP), Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) which are supposed to provide accessible education have also increasing school fees. UP, through a “rebracketing” scheme has hikes tuition from P1,000 to P1,500 per unit. PUP has meanwhile hikes its miscellaneaous fees by as much P500.
Crisostomo said youth and students are preparing for nationwide protests against tuition hikes next week to fight tuition increases and stop commercialization of education.
In a unity statement, various organizations called for “strikes, walk-outs, and marches” against rising tuition costs.
“Hindi na matitiis ng kabataan at mamamayan ang higit na pagkakait sa karapatan sa edukasyon.. Nananawagan kami sa gubyernong Aquino na itigil ang patakaran ng kumersyalisasyon,” said the statement.