Student activists protest tuition hike of 287 colleges
MANILA, Philippines–Student activists marked the opening of classes on Monday with an anti-tuition hike protest near Malacañang Palace.
Anakbayan members held up placards and chanted “Edukasyon, karapatan ng mamayan (Education, right of the citizens)” as they passed by private universities and colleges along Mendiola St. in Manila.
They also called President Benigno Aquino III “Tuition Hike King” amid the Commission on Higher Education’s (Ched’s) approval of the tuition increase proposals of 287 higher education institutions (HEI).
Jacqueline Tan, secretary general of Anakbayan’s Metro Manila chapter, criticized Aquino for the “incessant” increase of the cost of education under his watch.
The group pointed out that the recent tuition hike of the 64 schools in Metro Manila results in an average increase of P6,000 per semester for each student.
“Aquino gave the go signal for schools to hike fees, he is the enabler of the deregulated status of education. He deserves to be called king, the Tuition Hike King,” Tan said, referring to Aquino’s earlier statement that Ched may allow the increase as long as there is due process.
“How will the majority, the struggling families, keep up with the rising cost of education when their wages aren’t even enough?” she added.
At present, the minimum daily wage in the National Capital Region is P466. For the provinces, the wage rate ranges around P213 to P362.
“The people’s wages are nowhere near the rates of increase among schools fees. Even professionals and OFWs are already complaining on the alarming cost of education. Most college students are now sons and daughters of OFWs because of the economic crisis,” Tan said.
Anakbayan and other youth groups like the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) last week filed graft and other charges against Ched chairperson Patricia Licuanan and her fellow commissioners for alleged neglect of duty.
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