Students protest ‘commercialization’ of education

Feb. 03, 2008

Cotabato City- Students from Cotabato City State Polytechnic College (CCSPC) stage a mass walkout to condemn the commercialization of education. The symbolic protest is part of the student’s ongoing protest in state colleges and universities (SUCs) in Southern Mindanao.

About 200 students from the state college walked out of their campus and trooped outside where groups from other schools and out-of-school youths supported them.

Michael Dumamba, spokesperson of Liga ng Kabataang Moro (LKM), said there is decreasing number of enrollees in state colleges and universities because of insufficient government subsidy, prompting some SUCs to impose increases in tuitions, miscellaneous and other fees.

The skyrocketing of fees in SUCs has become burden of students, Dumamba said. We are supposed to be a iskolar ng bayan, but because of government’s neglect, these public institutions for higher learning have to learn to survive by increasing their fees to keep up with their operating expenses. This leads to the increase in the number of drop-outs and out of school youth, as more students could no longer afford to go to school.

Instead of spending on military training, war games and armaments, government should instead spend more on education, the Moro youth group said.

The Moro youth have always been the victims of military operations and other forms of human rights violations conducted in Moro communities in Mindanao, said Dumamba. We don’t want it to happen again. Instead we are proposing that the budget intended for militarization and the conduct of Balikatan in Mindanao will be channeled to education.

Nina Usman, Senate President of school Supreme Student Government, which led the walkout, education should be for all.

We call for a greater state-subsidy to education, Usman said during the walkout, which served as the culminating activity of the national youth week, which started on January 28.

Michelle Tirol, spokesperson of Gabriela Youth (GY), also criticized the Arroyo administration for not providing better programs for the youth sector.

Arroyo should take note of the UNESCO studies that six per cent of the country’s GDP must go to the education budget. Instead of the colonial, repressive and commercialized education system that we have, we want a scientific, nationalist and mass-oriented one, said Tirol. ###

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