DAVAO CITY, Philippines – More or less 400 private schools and colleges plan to increase tuition and other school fees (TOSF) for the upcoming school year, according to the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP).

This means, according to the NUSP, that 80 percent of private schools in the country are geared up to increase with an average rate of 6 to 10 percent in tuition and other school fees this year.

“These are based on reports gathered from our regional chapters all over the country,” NUSP deputy secretary-general Raoul Manuel said.

Davao schools included

Commission on Higher Education (CHED) – 11 director Raul Alvarez Jr., told Davao Today in a phone interview that “at least 34 tertiary schools in the region plan to raise tuition and other fees this year.”

The director said schools and universities had until February 28 to conduct consultations before the commission’s regional office after which its central office would act on the proposed fees hike.

“Notices must be sent to all stakeholders including students, faculty, and alumni, two weeks before the scheduled consultation, so by now higher education institutions are doing that [consultations],” said Alvarez.

Unannounced consultations?

However, NUSP said some schools scheduled consultations without announcing the planned fees hike “to prevent clamor from students” and called on to students to “boycott” these consultations.

“These tuition consultations, for your information, do not work in the mere essence of ‘consultation’. These ‘consultations’ are avenues for school administrators to justify the increases in tuition and other school fees,” Manuel said.

“Private school owners”, Manuel added, “use students’ attendance in consultations as a ‘YES’ vote to tuition fee increases. Opposition and criticism to TOSF increase have no place in these forums created by the administrators.”

The group slammed CHED and Duterte administration for “always putting forward the interests” of private school owners “with the existing framework of deregulating the prices of school fees.”

“Once again, this Commission – the Commission on Highly Expensive Education, will act as a rubber stamp towards proposals for TOSF increase,” Manuel said.

Last school year, CHED approved 268 private tertiary schools to increase TOSF, 32 of which are in Davao region.

“Millions of students will be affected by this tuition and other school fees increase. Paying additional thousands of pesos for sending our youth to school is definitely a burden for Filipino families, adding to the price hike of basic goods and commodities due to Tax Reform Law,” said Manuel. (davaotoday.com)

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