Youth Groups Protest Against Tuition Hikes
Photo by Brynch Bonachita
As the deadline for tuition fee and other school fees increase (TOSFI) proposals draw near this February, several representatives of their groups discussed the implications of the hike in private schools to the students and their families, and thus demanded CHED to take action.
Dyan Gumanao, National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) Cebu Coordinator, challenged CHED to listen to the plight and demands of the students. In an interview, Gumanao said that “for the past years, TOSFI have caused thousands of students to drop out from schools since they can no longer pay the expensive amount of education, [sic] far beyond from what their family members or parents receive from their meager wage.”
Cyrus Rom, Anakbayan University of San Carlos Senior High School (USC-SHS) Coordinator, stressed how education has been used to train students for cheap labor, adding that the K-12 program is one of the manifestations of this kind of education. Rom emphasized that students are also prompted to transfer to private schools as there are only few public schools that offers K-12.
Nagkahiusang Kusog sa Estudyante University of the Philippines (NKE UP) Cebu’s Representative, Aura Agbay, highlighted how in face of TOSFI, it’s not simply education that families are paying for. Even if the Free Tuition Law have been enacted, Agbay shed light how 88% percent of schools are private instiutions, showing how majority of the students are still paying for their tuition. She concluded that education shouldn’t simply be free, but also of quality.
Howell Villacrusis, Spokesperson of Kabataan Partylist (KPL) Cebu, said that 3.6 million of Filipinos around the age of 6 to 24 year olds are unable to access education. Given how CHED is supposedly mandated to serve the students, Villacrusis asked why it is so easy for the institution to approve of the hikes given its dire implications.
Members of the said alliance are NUSP, NKE UP, KPL, Anakbayan, College Editors Guild of the Philippines and Student Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy.
After the group chanted, “Edukasyon, edukasyon! Karapatan ng mamayan!” Gumanao concluded the protest, reassuring that the Cebuano youth are ready to fight for their rights.
R4E calls for everyone to sign the nationwide petition against TOSFI.