As the national government continues to cut down spending on the country’s 110 state universities and colleges (SUCs), students carry the burden of the steep cost of higher education, Kabataan Party-list Representative Raymond “Mong” Palatino said.
In the proposed national budget for 2010, allocation for SUCs will be slashed by 13 percent or a whopping P3.2 billion, thus forcing SUCs to generate income mostly from students.
Based on the 2010 National Expenditure Program, bulk of SUCs’ projected income of P10.2 billion will be sourced from tuition fees (P4.59 Billion) and other income from students (2.23 billion).
Palatino said “SUCs are being forced to rely less on government subsidy and more on internally-generated income in the form of tuition and other fees and privatization of assets. Unfortunately, the burden of financing tertiary education is placed on Filipino students, many of whom will be unable to afford it,” Palatino said.
The young solon said trimming the SUC budget would be “sadistic and ultimately anti-student,” especially since more and more students are flocking to SUCs. For school year 2009-2010, CHED enrolment data show a “migration” of students from private higher education institutions (HEIs) to SUCs mainly as a result of the continuously rising cost of education in private tertiary institutions amid the economic crisis.
Palatino said the government’s Medium Term High Education Development Plan, which directs SUC’s to “rationalize tuition by implementing the full cost of education in public HEIs” is to blame.
“It is clear that the government is in the framework of eventually relinquishing its responsibility to subsidize SUCs and public HEIs. It is abandoning its obligations to provide education to the Filipino youth,” he said.
“State schools are being treated no longer as national agencies entitled to sufficient government subsidy, but as income-earning and commercial entities. Students and the youth are no longer seen as future nation-builders, but as mere clientele for capitalist educators,” Palatino said.
Palatino vows to push for greater state subsidy for education in the ongoing budget deliberations.
“Again, the best and most well-meaning resolution for this would be to re-channel funds for some items in the Office of the President’s budget to education,” Palatino said.
As an example, he cited that the P1 billion alloted for the Telecommunications Office, an agency different from the National Telecommunications Office, would be put to much better and significant use if allocated instead to SUCs. ###