Students walk out, slam the proposed 200% tuition fee increase

Jan. 16, 2012

Students walk out, slam the proposed 200% tuition fee increase

Students of the Brokenshire College of Davao meet with protest on January 12 the administration’s proposed 200 percent increase in the tuition fee.  Led by their student council and student publication, the students hold a protest outside the campus in Madapo Hills after walking out from the tuition increase consultation.

“The consultation of the administration is mere information dissemination and not a genuine consultation with the students.  The official documents that we requested were not given to us.  We need those to assess their proposal of these increases and to consult it with the students.  The students and their parents are the most affected with this tuition increase,” said Christian dela Cruz, Prime Minister of the Brokenshire Supreme Student Council.

The proposed increase for the Upward Mobility Program is PhP 186.04 per unit making the new fee from PhP 185.96 to PhP 372 per unit.  The Evening Program will increase from PhP 231.84 to PhP 372 per unit, while the Regular Program will increase from PhP 371.91 to PhP 428 per unit.

Aside from the tuition increases, there will also be increases and additional items for laboratory fees with as much as 200 percent increase.  Miscellaneous fees will also increase with as much as 276 percent for the energy fee.

“What we want is genuine consultation where all students can participate in the discussion of the tuition increase proposal.  Not this where only a selected few participate and can easily be intimidated by the administration to agree with the proposal,” dela Cruz said.

The Student Council was given an unsigned four-page document which was the supposed financial statement of the college.  Furnished copies of tuition proposals were also given.  All these documents were received by the Student Council — few days before the date of consultation.  “Giving us unofficial documents and tuition proposals few days before the ‘consultation’ is unethical and more importantly, leaves us no room for evaluation and genuine consultation with the students,” dela Cruz said.

The unsigned document stated the college lost about PhP 28 million last school year, thus the need for the tuition increase.

CHED not doing anything

“The Commission on Higher Education has again failed to do its duties of regulating our higher education institutions.  It merely accepts tuition increase proposals from the school administrations without questioning it,” Krista Melgarejo, National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) vice president for Mindanao, said.

Melgarejo added, “instead of protecting students and parents from the burden of another increase in school fees, they have become the instrument in hastening the process.  School administrators have justified the process of their ‘information dissemination’ by means of the CHED Memo No. 13 which does not make the consultation process fair to all sectors.  Even the presence of a CHED representative is dependent upon the school administration and there is no clear sanctions for schools who do not conduct these consultations properly.”

According to NUSP, over the decade the national average in tuition rates have doubled.  From PhP 257.41 per unit in AY 2001-2002, it has gone up to PhP 536.31 for AY 2011-2012.  In June 2011, the Senate stated the country produces an average of two million youths who drop out of school due to the increase of school fees.

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