In an assembly held today at the House of Representatives, students and youth groups led by Anakbayan and Kabataan Partylist announced a national walkout against tuition and other fee hikes and the K-12 program set on February 24 and March 11.
“The Aquino government has done nothing to stop the soaring cost of tuition and other fees. Aquino will be remembered for his heartless trampling of the Filipino youth’s right to education,” said Anakbayan national chairperson Vencer Crisostomo.
A new study by the Kabataan Partylist Using data culled from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) showed that annual college level tuition rates have doubled from P30,000-50,000 to P60,000-100,000 under the Aquino administration. On top of tuition are the other school fees which reach as high as P20,000 annually.
The same study shows that the some of the biggest schools at the University Belt in Manila doubled their profits in the last 5 years:
- Far Eastern University (FEU), which consistently appears in Business World’s annual Top 1,000 corporations, increased net profit by 81 percent from P713 million in 2010 to P1.08 billion in 2015.
- The Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU) increased net profit by 140 percent from P272.6 million in 2010 to P657.6 million in 2015.
- The University of the East increased net profits by 30 percent from P352.3 million in 2010 to P463.5 million in 2015.
- Even supposedly non-stock, non-profit considerably increased their net revenue with the De La Salle University (DLSU) posting an increase of 62 percent from P381.9 million in 2010 to P734 million in 2015.
- The University of Santo Tomas (UST) meanwhile increased its net revenue by 28 percent from P941 million in 2010 to over P1.3 billion in 2015.
“The big school owners are Aquino’s real bosses. Under Aquino’s deregulation policy for the education sector, school owners are pampered and allowed to bring in billions of profits in tuition and other fees at the expense of students and their parents,” said Crisostomo.
He warned that school fees are once again set to increase as various schools nationwide hold bogus student consultations starting this February. He also said that state universities and colleges (SUCs) are forced by the Aquino administration to increase tuition and other fees by cutting government subsidies.
The youth leader also lambasted Aquino’s K-12 program for being another money-making scheme meant to increase the profits of private schools. “The government has set it up in such a way that you either finish K-12 in a private school or you dropout from schooling altogether,” he said.
Based on data from the Department of Education itself, 1 million students cannot enrol in any senior high school program because of the limited capacity of public high schools. In the National Capital Region alone, there are only 197 public high schools out of the total 910 senior high schools.
Youth and student groups will be spearheading massive protests in response to the intensifying commercialization of education under Aquino. “We are gearing for a nationwide walkout on February 24 to push Aquino to stop tuition and other fee hikes and junk the K-12 program,” said Crisostomo.
He said the fight against tuition hikes and K-12 is not just for the youth but also every ordinary Filipino who already suffer from low wages, contractualization, landlessness, and high cost of basic commodities on top of the high cost of education.