Hotline reports “absurd” fees charged to students

ANTIPOLO CITY, Philippines— A hotline for college students in schools that violated a Commission on Higher Education (CHED) memo allowing students to take exams in spite of unpaid school fees has brought a rush of complaints against erring schools.

In a statement, Vanessa Faye Bolibol, secretary-general of the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), said that since the hotlines were posted, they received too many phone calls, not only from students, but from parents of students, as well.

The Students Report Hotline, with numbers: 09277515365 and (02)352-1054, was put up by the NUSP and the Kabataan Party-list to document student complaints.

Bolibol said they have been getting reports of “absurd” fees charged to students.

She cited as an example, a parent’s complaint about the P1,550 (US$33.21) fee charged per student for the compulsory eco-camp required by the Eulogio “Amang” Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology (Earist) in Manila for those students taking the National Service Training Program.

In Muntinlupa City, a nursing student complained about the required on-the-job training fee that costs P9,200 ($197.17) per student, Bolibol added.

“Even parents of elementary students are messaging us. One parent complained, though public elementary schools do not have matriculation fees, they are into other money-making schemes such as compulsory raffle tickets,” Bolibol said.

She also said that the deregulated education environment has spurred the drive for profit, thus making it harder for young Filipinos to finish school.

“Because of these lingering problems, there is a need for the government to review its existing policies on education and take the necessary steps to stop these money-making schemes by schools,” she said. (Appeared at Dateline Philippines, January 30, 2010).