Students hold Aquino, CHED liable to other school fee hikes

Photo from the National Union of Students of the Philippines

Photo from the National Union of Students of the Philippines

The Rise for Education Alliance (R4E) trooped to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to call for the removal of illegal school fees and halt the yearly tuition increase in schools nationwide and demand accountability for its inaction to cases filed against tuition and other school fee increases.

“Development fee, energy fee, miscellaneous fee, athletics fee, cultural fee, examination fee, internet fee, late payment fee, registration fee, these are just some of the long list of other school fees imposed upon students in both private and state universities and colleges (SUCs) in the country, not to mention the yearly tuition hikes in schools. These fees are not only expensive but additional burden to students and parents,” said Sarah Jane Elago, National Convenor of the R4E and National President of the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP).

“School administrations pass the yoke of paying for maintenance, utilities, procurement of new equipment, and building new facilities to students by charging them with various questionable school fees. In most schools, they have various forms of development fees, energy fee, laboratory fee, and various fees. These other school fees range from Php100 to as much as Php5,000 every semester. Oftentimes, these school fees have little or no benefit to the students. These fees should not be included as students already paid for these through their tuition,” Elago explained.

“It is enraging that despite the pressure of students on CHED to junk illegal school fees and stop tuition increase, the agency remains to be a stamp pad approving every increase not considering the dire situation of families who wish to send their children to college but are unable to do so because of the continued deregulation and commercialization of education in the country. The policies of the Aquino government on education make it more difficult for poor Filipinos to attain tertiary education,” said Marc Lino Abila, National President of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) and also a convenor of R4E.

“The Aquino administration remains resolute in pursuing neoliberal policies on education such as K-12, academic calendar shift and budget cuts. These worsen the already severe crisis of the education system in the Philippines. With deregulation and commercialization of our education system in full swing, it will be much harder for an ordinary laborer earning a minimum wage to send his child to school with the rising cost of tuition and other school fees,” Abila said further.

Aside from the school fees, R4E also views that violations to student democratic rights are also growing in number as students voice their opposition to other school fee increases and unjust school policies.

“From May to October 2014, CEGP documented more than 400 campus press freedom violations from more than 80 student publications nationwide. There are also reports of repression and harassment of progressive student leaders who are vocal with their disapproval to other school fees and tuition increase particularly in Eulogio “Amang” Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology (EARIST), De La Salle Araneta University (DLSAU) and National University (NU),” Abila related.

“Students and education advocates strongly demand the Aquino government’s accountability to the sorry state of the education system. We call every Filipino youth, as well as parents to join our demand for education rights,” Elago ended.###