Disrupting the status quo
The campus press against state abandonment of education

Again, the student journalists are being pushed against the wall. The school administrators, in tolerating the state neglect of education, have crafted even the most creative means just to silence the mouth piece of the student body. In pursuit of genuine campus press freedom, many campus journalists were harassed, intimidated, expelled and even put under military surveillance. Some were made to literally cut out an “offensive article” in the published newspaper.

On July 19, student journalists will walkout of their classes and join the thousands of other youth in a show of force. The antagonistic campus press emerged after decades of anti-student policies from escalating tuition rates and other fees to violations of students’ democratic rights. It is only logical that the student journalists will openly oppose the policies of the school administrators and the government, for the staffers remain to be a part of the student body from which they are never isolated.

Instead of addressing the students’ demands, the school administrators and President Benigno Aquino III’s government played deaf and insisted on implementing unambiguously ineffective policies. The crackdown on student leaders and critical writers continued, as the number of documented cases of campus press freedom violations climbed to more than 357 last year.

The Guild believes that education is a right and not a mere commodity. It is dejecting for every youth that the government, despite its role in ensuring access to quality education, allows all forms of massive, unreasonable tuition and other fee increases. President Benigno Aquino III has promised that education would be his top priority, but the historically huge budget cuts tell us otherwise. Instead of increasing the budget for social services (the state of which continues to deteriorate), Aquino insists that the solution is to lengthen the basic education cycle – the K-12 program.

Aquino does not understand that the problem is not in the length of the cycle, but in the nature of the education system that is commercialized, fascist and colonial. The problem is in the measly state subsidy for education. The problem is in the decrepit facilities, woeful student-teacher ratio, and bloated tuition and miscellaneous fees.

On July 19, student journalists, and the youth whose right to education continues to be trampled on, will engage in a disruption of the status quo. In a form of protest that will paralyze the operations of educational institutions that close their doors to the underprivileged youth. On July 19, the youth will walk out of their classes, for what is a day of absence compared to more decades of state neglect

As student journalists, it is a crime not to take a stand when it is the rights of the youth that are being assaulted. The College Editors Guild of the Philippines, the broadest and oldest alliance of publications in Asia-Pacific, believes that to write for an advocacy is not enough. It is necessary to be directly involved in the struggle.





JULY 17, 2011

Pauline Gidget Estella

National media officer



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