Campus journalists, student leaders file complaints against bogus consultations

Student journalists and student leaders from different state and private universities and colleges in Metro Manila filed complaints to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) on the non-compliance of school administrations to CHED guidelines on tuition fee consultations.

“School administrators are deceiving the students by holding ‘consultations’ where only selected students can participate,” said Marc Lino Abila, National Deputy Secretary-General of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines. “The student publication I belong to was not even given a notice regarding the consultation in our university.”

Abila expressed his dismay with the school administrators in doing ways to push the increases through without following the rules set by CHED. “The consultations were not even announced 15 days prior and some held consultations on February 28, the last day of filing of proposals for tuition and other fee increases when parties involved won’t have ample time to study the proposed increase,” Abila explained.

“In some cases, in the University of the East for example, sectors which are present in the consultations were not even given the chance to speak out their concerns and contest the increase, especially students who will be directly affected by the increase,” Abila said. “School administrations even cleared out that what they are doing were not consultations, but a ‘presentation’ meaning that no one else will be allowed to oppose the increase.”

The universities and colleges which proposed increase on tuition fee include University of Santo Tomas, University of the East-Manila, Lyceum of the Philippines University and De La Salle Araneta University with 5% increase, University of the East-Caloocan with 3.5%, and Colegio de San Juan de Letran with 8-10% according to the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP).

“These scenarios are common in both public and private universities and colleges nationwide,” Abila said. “We can trace this back to the commercial orientation of our education system. The youth and people are deprived of their right to education. We call for CHED to take immediate action on the violations committed by these higher educational institutions and stop tuition fee increases which will add up to the burden of the Filipinos.”