Youth group welcomes new CHED head, dares her to make concrete pronouncements on tuition freeze and other education system reforms
Youth group Anakbayan welcomed Commission on Higher Education commissioner Patricia Licuanan , who was formally sworn-in today, with a challenge to concretize what she called “much needed reforms in the educational system”.
“We fervently hope that Commissioner Licuanan will be different from her predecessors, such as former Commissioner Emmanuel Angeles, in the sense that she will truly represent the interests of her constituents, instead of being a mouthpiece of ‘educator-capitalists’ and private school owners” said Anakbayan national vice-chairperson Anton Dulce.
Under the Arroyo administration, the tuition fee average skyrocketed to more than P900 per unit nationwide and P1200 per unit in the National Capital Region from 2001 to 2010, both more than double the respective tuition rates when Arroyo first came to power. Last June, the CHED proposed that the government subsidize private colleges and universities to prevent tuition and other fee increases this year.
Youth groups, including Anakbayan, have earlier called for an immediate order to freeze all tuition and other fees in all schools nationwide. The call for a tuition freeze order was also the rallying cry of the thousands of students who walked out of their classes last Friday.
“Licuanan doesn’t have to look far for situations which require her vaunted ‘political will’. We have been calling for a nationwide tuition freeze order since the first week of June and this has been ignored so far by the CHED. We hope this will change under her watch” said Dulce.
In her speech during her swearing-in, the new CHED commissioner vowed to “lead the CHED with the political will needed to implement the much-needed reforms in the educational system”.
The youth leader also challenged Licuanan to assert the need for more additional subsidy for the education sector, including SCUs (state colleges and universities), which is also part of the so-called “Youth Agenda” being advocated by several national and student groups.
“It will be a good start if the Commissioner can join us publicly to call for the much-needed equivalent of 6% GDP (Gross Domestic Product) for the education budget” he added.
Thousands of youths, led by Anakbayan, are set to march to the streets on President Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino’s first-ever State of the Nation Address (SONA) to demand that he address and adopt the groups’ “Youth Agenda”.