Tuition hike blamed on ‘grand conspiracy’ between Arroyo, private schools

May. 30, 2007

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Various student and youth organizations denounced today the Commission on Higher Education as well as the private schools for their alleged “grand conspiracy” to increase tuition this year.

In a statement, Kabataan Partylist, along with other youth organizations, the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), Student Christian Movement of the Philippines (SCMP) League of Filipino Students (LFS) and Anakbayan, said they condemn the “grand conspiracy” of CHED officials, the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA) and President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo herself to suspend several CHED memorandums that put a cap on increases in tuition and other fees based on the prevailing national inflation rate.

This week, about 80 private schools nationwide increased their fees, allegedly without consulting with students and parents. Carlito Puno, the CHED’s chairman, approved the increases.

Puno’s “unilateral and shameless act shows the commission’s subservience and capitulation to strong pressure from school owners even at the expense of students,” the Kabataan said in the statement. “This only proves that CHED is toothless and merely functions as a rubber stamp for school owners’ business interests.”

The group described Puno’s “unilateral move” as a “policy regression” that effectively revokes what it called “hard-won amendments” to CHED’s policy on tuition increases. This policy, it said, is supposed to “regulate the unabated school fee hikes” brought about by the implementation of the original CHED memorandum 13 (CMO 13) in 1998.

It said the timing of the release of Puno’s memorandum last February 20 granting the increase “is questionable as it came out in the middle of tuition consultations in various private schools that are set to end on February 28. ” CHED’s suspension of one of the memorandums that put a cap on increases, called the CHED memorandum 14 (CMO 14), came after COCOPEA’s met with Arroyo a week before Puno announced the increase, Kabataan said.

The group said it was able to get a copy of COCOPEA’s advisory to its members, also dated February 20, which states the following:

“Please be advised that after a meeting COCOPEA had with president Macapagal-Arroyo last week, the president took the initiative to order the creation of a review team. The review will also cover CHED memorandum orders no. 7, series of 2007; no. 42, series of 2006; and no. 14, series of 2005. Hence, the suspension of these CMOs.”

This COCOPEA advisory, Kabataan said, “proves that Arroyo had a hand in the suspension of CMO 14 few days before the end of the consultations for tuition and other fee increase proposals.”

The suspension of CMO 14 and and re-implementationof CMO 13, Kabataan said, “will not only sow confusion among students but can and in fact is now being used by school owners to increase tuition beyond the inflation rate.The re-implementation of CMO 13 effectively removes the cap on tuition hikes based on the national inflation rate and the inclusion of miscellaneous fees among the items that require student consultation.”

“The government should implement a moratorium on tuition and other fee hikes to avoid a repeat of the collection of illegal tuition and miscellaneous fee increases last year,” Kabataan said. “Private schools and CHED should first settle the issues over the illegal implementation of tuition and other fee hikes this school year under the agency’s memorandum order no. 14 before approving proposals for another round of school fee increases. Implementing an obsolete CMO 13 will only make matters worse.”

CHED, Kabataan said, “has just institutionalized the annual increase without due consideration that Filipino students and their families who cannot afford such increases because of the increasing gap between the price of education and the capacity of the Filipinos to spend on it.”

“We hold the government accountable for a coming increase of school drop outs this year,” it added. (

comments powered by Disqus