Youth groups ask new CHED chair to institute reforms in education

Antipolo City, July 20, 2010—Youth groups challenge new Commission on Higher Education (CHED) chief, Patricia Licuanan, Ph. D. to make substantive reforms in the higher education sector in the Philippines, especially on the issue of skyrocketing matriculation and other school fees.

Anakbayan national vice-chair Anton Dulce says that they “fervently hope that Licuanan will not do another Angeles, in terms of being mouthpiece for educator capitalists and private school owners.”

Based on the current statistics, the average tuition fee in the universities and colleges in Metro Manila today ranges from P900 (US$19.38) to P1,200 ($25.79) per unit or around P21,600 ($465.32) to P28,800 ($620.47) per semester, for a full-load of eight (8) subjects; this is less of miscellaneous fees and other school needs.

The National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) study reveals that at the national level, the tuition fees in universities and colleges had soared up to 94.7 per cent, while in Metro Manila alone is 123.07 per cent, since 2001.

“This is double or triple the amount of tuition fees being paid by the students, before Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo came into power as chief executive in 2001 through EDSA People Power 2,” said Dulce.

Dulce said, for a good start, Dr. Licuanan must propose—and insist—to the Aquino government to allocate at least six per cent of the country’s GDP or gross domestic product to the education sector, the amount prescribed by the United Nations’ Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization or Unesco.

“If Dr. Licuanan could do this, the long time ills of the education sector, can be somehow, remedied,” says NUSP national president Einstein Recedes. NUSP is the national alliance of student governments in different public and private higher educational institution in the country.

Recedes said, citing the 2008 Unesco study, around 73 per cent of the student population of the Philippines had been forced to drop-out from school because of expensive cost of education.

“The CHED itself had said that 80 per cent of high school graduates don’t make it to college and the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) data show that an average college drop-out rate from 1994-2004 had reached 83.34 per cent,” Recedes explained.

Meanwhile, the NUSP and Anakbayan have also asked the new CHED chief to regulate tuition fees, or better to impose a tuition fee hike moratorium in the next five years. (See story on CBCPNews.com)

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