Youth groups led by KABATAAN Party-list held protests today against “Free Tuition Scam,” referring to the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) released by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and Department of Budget and Management (DBM). According to them this will only pave way to massive increases in tuition and other school fees, allowing SUCs to rake in more profits through collections from students.
Before heading to CHED, youth and student groups held decentralized actions in various schools and universities nationwide. They marked today’s actions as launch of “Brigada Protesta”, as they tore up copies of the CHED-DBM IRR and swept it to the dustbins to protest the “trash” policy.
Free Tuition Scam
Youth groups expressed their outrage over the Free Tuition Scam being circumvented to increase profits.
“By giving SUCs a budget ceiling based on their expected tuition income, expect SUCs to engage in a race for profits as they attempt to meet the ceiling and milk the most out of their free tuition fund,” Elago said.
“SUCs can double their profit thru the Free Tuition Scam–they can access the fund allotted to them thru eligible students, and max out their appropriation thru tuition increases and still, continue tuition and other school fees collections from those who will not be eligible to the fund,” Elago explained.
“This profiteering racket will also stir increases in other school fees. To circumvent possible income losses, SUCs will hike other school fees to amass more profit from the students,” Elago said.
Added support for #FreeEducationNow
On May 8, Rep. Sarah Elago filed House Resolution 971, enjoining members of the Lower House to support the demand for no tuition collection for the next academic year, in light of the P8-billion free tuition fund.
“We are enlivened by the support of no less than House Speaker Alvarez after a meeting with student leaders. We are expecting more legislators to get on board with the initiative, in light of escalating calls and engagements for free education,” said Elago.
“Our series of engagements with the government and on social media should ultimately contribute to the movement in the streets. It is only through the militant struggle of the youth can education as a basic human right be decisively advanced,” Elago asserted.
Today, Kabataan Partylist marked the start of Brigada Protesta to intensify calls for free education and to put a stop to K to 12. Set up as an opposite to the Brigada Eskwela clean up drive in high schools, Brigada Protesta aims to enjoin youth in communities, senior high school, and college to fight together for our common interest for free, quality, an emancipatory education, according to Elago.
“The K to 12 program has only increased labor export in the country, notwithstanding the costs of the additional 2 years in senior high school. K to 12 aims to produce, and has produced, hordes of skilled and semi-skilled laborers which will result to further depressed wages. With the absence of industries here in the country, they will be pushed to find work overseas,” Elago explained.
“Fascism and militarization is also targeted to be part of the senior high school curriculum, as mandatory ROTC is being pushed in the senior high school level,” Elago adds.
“We call on the President to heed the call of the youth for free education. We demand that no tuition shall be collected for next year. The youth will not hesitate to #OccupyCHED if Licuanan will remain devout to profit, at the expense of the youth’s right to education,” Elago said.
“We invite the President to meet student leaders and listen to their demands, first hand. The youth is more than willing to forge a blueprint for a nationalist, scientific and mass oriented education that this administration can pursue,” Elago concluded. ###