HIGH-school students and youth organizations, led by Anakbayan, Kabataan Party-list group and League of Filipino Students, have mounted a campout at the Department of Education (DepEd) office in Pasig City to protest tuition increases.
The protesters said the approval of increases of tuition and other school fees in 1,013 elementary and high schools nationwide is unconscionable and adds more burdens to parents already reeling from additional expenses for children enrolled in the K to 12 senior high-school (SHS) scheme.
“Continuing the burdensome K to 12 and approving tuition hikes in 1,013 schools is antipoor economics that further commercializes education. This means more hardships for students and their families amid perennially low wages and rising cost of basic goods and services,” Anakbayan National Chairman Vencer Crisostomo said.
Anakbayan hit the way K to 12 Program has facilitated the entry of big businessmen in the private sector who profit from state subsidies through the voucher system from the implementation of the SHS program.
Anakbayan said the K to 12 Program has only benefited foreign companies and big businessmen “that now exploit young high-school graduates as immediately exportable cheap laborers”, explaining the increase in the supply of young workers brought about by measures like the K to 12 further pushes wage levels down.
Crisostomo added the continuation of the policy of deregulation of education by President Duterte allows the continued collection of fees, which has already soared to a range of P60,000 to P80,000, from P30,000 to P60,000 a year in 2010, thus jacking up profits of school.
“Libreng edukasyon ang panawagan ng mga kabataan at mamamayan. Ibig sabihin, walang koleksyon,” said Crisostomo.
He called for the junking of the Education Act of 1982 and the Expanded Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education (Gastpe) which legitimized the deregulated collection of tuition and other school fees and provision of state subsidies for private schools.
The youth groups are also gearing for campout protests at the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) on June 7 to push the call for free education for all and a nationalist, scientific and mass-oriented system of education.