DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/02 March)—Of the 26 higher educational institutions (HEI) in the Davao region that applied for tuition fee increase for school year 2013-2014, only five came from the provinces badly devastated by super typhoon “Pablo,” an official said Friday.
Dr. Raul C. Alvarez Jr., acting director of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Region 11, said in a media forum here that schools from areas affected by the typhoon had considered the economic conditions of the people in foregoing a tuition fee increase.
In Davao Oriental, one of the badly hit provinces, not a single college or university had sought a tuition fee hike, he said.
Four schools in Davao del Norte and another in Compostela Valley applied for a tuition fee increase, Alvarez added.
Based on a CHED primer distributed to reporters, this city posted the highest number of schools that applied for tuition fee increase at 19. Two others from Davao del Sur sought the same.
“The city has many applications for tuition fee increase as there is relatively a “good working condition” here as it was not gravely affected by Pablo,” Alvarez said.
Davao region has a total of 80 HEIs with 92 campuses, according to him.
He said that results for the tuition fee petitions would be known after the April 1 deadline.
A total of 45 HEIs increased tuition fees for school year 2012-2013, 26 of them from the city, eight from Davao del Sur, nine from Davao del Norte, and one each from Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley, CHED data showed.
Cherry Orendain, Anakbayan Southern Mindanao spokesperson, said the decrease in the number of HEIs applying for tuition fee increase “does not please the youth and students,” adding that the CHED allegedly failed to control the “alarming trend” of tuition fee increases among private schools in the region.
“The fact remains that education is still a business and that the CHED has perfected its role as the spokesperson of the capitalist educators,” she told MindaNews.
Bai Ali Indayla, second nominee of Kabataan Partylist, earlier said that some 150,000 students from private schools were affected by tuition fee increases in the school year 2012-2013.
She cited that in the last three years, tuition fee increases ranged from P3,150 to P4,200 per semester, with the average tuition paid by a student reaching P40,000 per school year.
Indayla said her group gathers complaints from parents and students on school violations related to tuition fee increases through the “Kabataan Hotline” with numbers 082- 221-6589 and 0942-980-8413.
She said that “redundant and exorbitant fees” have turned out as the most common complaints of parents and students.
Indayla stressed that education in the country has become commercialized and expensive, making it hard to the reach of the poor.
Alvarez said the issues related to hikes in tuition and other fees require consultations as mandated by Article III of CHED Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 3, Series of 2013.
Based also on the order, 70 percent of the tuition fee shall go to personnel salaries and benefits, 20 percent for school upgrading or improvement, and only 10 percent for return of investment. (Lorie Ann A. Cascaro/MindaNews)