Iloilo students call for halt in tuition fee hikes
ILOILO CITY—Around 50 student leaders and members of Anakbayan, League of Filipino Students, and National Union of Students of the Philippines held a picket in front of the regional office of the Commission on Higher Education around noon to call for a moratorium on tuition increases.
Their main beef: the cost of education which they claimed has gone beyond the reach of even middle class families.
The protesters wore backpacks with colorful signs symbolizing the “heavy burdens” of parents and students, including continuous tuition increases, cuts on the education budget, substandard school facilities and equipment, and exorbitant fees.
“The Aquino administration’s education policy is a continuation of the past administration’s policy of allowing private schools to blatantly increase tuition and other fees while cutting the budget for state universities and colleges,” claimed Eric Alip, Anakbayan-Panay spokesperson.
Twenty private schools in Western Visayas increased their tuition this school year by an average of 8.4 percent, or about P37 per unit, according to CHEd. Last school year, 24 schools in the region increased their tuition by an average of 7.55 percent.
The protesters who later talked with CHEd officials, also called on the government and education officials to stop the collection of “dubious” miscellaneous fees that were not subjected to consultation.
Some schools that announced that they would not increase their tuition have imposed increases through the unregulated collection of miscellaneous fees, they said.
“What we don’t usually see are the hidden exorbitant fees that are also imposed on students. These include miscellaneous fees, energy fees, computer fees, and others,” said LFS-Iloilo spokesperson Mark Ledesma.
Around 50 students of the University of the Philippines in the Visayas also held a picket at the UP Visayas campus in the city. The students said that UP has imposed a 65-percent increase in tuition through adjustments in the socialized tuition brackets.
The Kabataan party-list group said education’s share in this year’s national budget is at 11.5 percent, lower than the 13 percent in the previous administration.
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