Students protest enslavement of education system to private school owners

 According to Andrhea Carreon, National Union of Students in the Philippines’ (NUSP)-Davao City Chapter spokesperson, they are protesting the relentless campus repression and Tuition and Other Fees Increases (TOFI) which “worsened after the suspension of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Memorandum Order No.14 (CMO 14) allowing private schools to increase tuition unabatedly.”

In Southern Mindanao Region only seven colleges out of 47 tertiary education institutions will not raise tuition and miscellaneous fees this school year.

In a press conference last May 30, various student and youth organizations headed by the NUSP together with the Kabataan Partylist denounced what they called a "grand conspiracy" of officials of CHED, Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA) and President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to suspend the implementation of CMO14 and subsequent amendments of CMO 42 and CMO 7 which provide for a cap on tuition and other fees increases based on the prevailing national
inflation rate. CMO 13 will instead be used as the guideline in tuition hike.

Four big universities in Davao City are among those which have increased fees: Ateneo de Davao University (8.2 percent), University of the Immaculate Conception (10 percent), University of Mindanao (11 percent) and University of the Philippines in Mindanao (300 percent).

Carreon said that the continuing dependence of the government to private school owners to provide education to its citizens only shows the state’s lack of political will to address the education crisis in the country.

“This continuing subservience of the government to private school owners including big corporations only denied us of our right to accessible and quality education,” Carreon said.

Meanwhile the Kabataan Partylist urged lawmakers to speed up investigations and review the Education Act of 1982 which students since the 1980's have been fighting to be scrapped.

"Our lawmakers must act now before it's too late. College education in the country is in the brink of a breakdown. The first thing our legislators must to do is to scrap the government's tuition deregulation policy," Raymond Palatino, National Chairperson of Kabataan Party-list said.

He also called on lawmakers to probe schools which are frequently included in the top 5,000 corporations in the country and freeze planned tuition increases for the coming school year. Among these schools are Centro Escolar University (CEU), Far Eastern University (FEU), Mapua Institute of Technology (MIT), University of the East (UE), AMA Computer University and STI Colleges.

For reference:

Leigh Dalugdog, Public Information Officer, NUSP

Andrhea Carreon, NUSP Spokesperson