Student groups stage protest vs tuition hike, Apec meet
University students on Friday morning walked out of their classes to protest tuition hikes and the upcoming Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in Manila next week.
Students from the University of the Philippines, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, University of Santo Tomas and De La Salle University marched to the United States Embassy where they burned Apec logos and US flags.
The students, led by Anakbayan, League of Filipino Students, National Union of Students of the Philippines and Kabataan party-list, also trooped to Mendiola near the Malacañang Palace to continue their protest on how globalization worsened the education crisis in the Philippines.
“Apec’s globalization agenda worsened the education crisis in the Philippines. Because of privatization and deregulation of education, tuition rates soared, drop-outs increased and education has been further reoriented to serve big foreign capital,” Vencer Crisostomo, national chair of Anakbayan, said in a statement.
Crisostomo said tuition had skyrocketed by as much as 3,000 percent since 1989, citing as example UP rates which hiked from P40 per unit in 1989 to the current P1,500 per unit.
“Deregulation of tuition and privatization of education which the Apec pushed and which the government dogmatically followed proved to be disastrous for the youth. It betrays the basic principle that education is a right, not a commodity or, worse, a privilege of a few,” he said.
Globalization, he said, caused the “the dumbing down” of Filipinos and “the further dilution of nationalist-oriented subjects in favor of those demanded by big corporations for cheap labor.”
“The colonial, commercialized and fascist education system has worsened under Apec’s globalization model. It has turned our young people into cheaper labor and modern-day slaves for big multinationals,” he said.
The group said they would conduct bigger protests next week in Manila as world leaders meet in Manila from Nov. 16-20.
“The Apec and big bullies like US and China are not welcome in the country,” he said. Nestor Corrales
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