DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The Kabataan party-list criticized the restoring of the fees that were already stricken out of the list to be collected from students and said the move robbed students of the full benefit of government’s free tertiary education.
A memorandum released by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST) allowed the 141 “disallowed fees” to be collected again from the students by state-run universities and colleges.
These fees are not covered by the Republic Act 10931, otherwise known as Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act, offering “free” college education.
“This is contrary to the spirit of the law and the aspiration of millions of Filipino youth and students who campaigned and fought for their right to free education,” Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago said in a statement on Thursday.
Elago stressed that removing the collection of fees from students is the spirit of having a free education.
“We don’t want the lack of money to pay become a hindrance to the right to education,” Elago said, emphasizing that the government should not put a price tag to education.
Free but still need to pay?
“Our victory for free education is being rob from us! We’ve already moved forward in our fight for free education,” Kabataan national president Angelica Reyes said.
“Let us not make a step back by allowing the government to reimpose 141 fees.”
“We are again being asked to pay several fees, while there is still no fund for many student councils and publication. Facilities are still poor state, and education gets a small portion of budget,” Reyes added
Meanwhile, Reyes slammed the pending tuition and other school fees increase in private schools and universities.
According to the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), 1,400 private schools across the country, both in basic and higher education, are set to propose fees hikes this year.
More budget to education
Rey Mart Lapiña, 1st year BA Anthropology student of the University of the Philippines Mindanao deemed the memo of CHED and UniFAST “unjust” and in conflict with the supposed free education law.
“Among poor students, this would be a challenge to our education. We enrolled in a state university because it is supposed to be free. If there are still other several fees to be paid, perhaps our parents would not be able to support our education especially prices of commodities today are increasing. Education would become less of our priority,” Lapiña said.
Lapiña urged the government to prioritize on the education sector by providing it with the biggest chunk of budget allocation.
He also hoped on removing the entrance examination in all state universities and colleges. “In that way, everyone will have their right to education.” (davaotoday.com)