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Over 400 seen to increase fees: Nationwide protest vs tuition hike

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon (The Freeman) - February 14, 2016 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Youth groups in Cebu and in many parts of the country will stage demonstrations on February 24 and on March 11 to protest the increase in tuition in the country’s colleges and universities.

Vencer Crisostomo, national chairperson of youth-group Anakbayan, said the protest will also include students from various private universities in Cebu.

The mass action in Cebu would be led by Kabataan Partylist-Cebu and the League of Filipino Students-Cebu.

Anakbayan has slammed Commission on Higher Education Chairperson Patricia Licuanan for belittling student protests against the rising cost of education. She has said that it is still too early to determine the number of universities that would increase tuition and other fees this year.

“While we speak thousands of youth are dropping out of school because of expensive education. We don’t have Licuanan’s privilege to dilly-dally before we take action. Simple lang naman ang punto. Ayaw naming magmahal. Ayokong magmahal ang matrikula,” said Crisostomo, in a separate statement.

Anakbayan said that this month of love, many students and parents would be left with broken hearts when consultations on increases in tuition and other fees begin.

Crisostomo said that based on their independent monitoring, over 400 universities and colleges are expected to hike fees.  He said the issue is not just some technical matter related to government red tape and procedures on allowing tuition hikes but really on the Aquino administration’s deregulation of the education sector, which allows private school owners to increase tuition yearly.

Meanwhile, League of Filipino Students national chairperson Charisse Bañez said CHED’s guidelines offer no safeguards to their right to education.

“For years, these processes are only being used by private HEIs (Higher Education Institutions) as mere stamp pads to raise tuition and other school fees,” she said.

Bañez said that the Aquino government’s policies permitted HEIs to arbitrarily increase matriculation costs and impose new fees.

She said these policies and guidelines resulted in the doubling of the cost of higher education and profits of HEIs. — (FREEMAN)

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