Budget cut proponents want more college students to drop out – Anakbayan
Youth group Anakbayan blasted the Aquino administration today for insisting on the proposed education budget cuts next year, saying it will lead to a dramatic increase in the number of college drop-outs.
In an interview last Friday, presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda defended the budget cuts, saying State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) are allowed to hike tuition rates to make up for the funding lost due to budget cuts. In a separate interview last Oct. 12, Commission on Higher Education (CHED) executive director Julito Vitriolo said SUCs should look for other sources of income.
“The tuition and other fee increases which will result from the proposed budget cuts are the very reason why we opposed the latter in the first place. Noynoy and the rest of his functionaries are merely confirming what we have previously said: the cuts will lead to fee hikes” said Anakbayan spokesperson Charisse Bañez, in reference to the budget cuts.
She cited a study released by the Kabataan Partylist which showed that out of a total of P10.64 billion in internally-generated-income by SUCs, P7.78 billion came from tuition and other fees.
The youth leader chided Vitriolo for defending the cuts, since the CHED official previously called on the government to subsidize private universities and colleges at the height of anti-tuition hike protests last June and July.
“Underneath the lunatic reasoning of having public funds subsidize private entities, the CHED’s previous statement shows two things: tuition and other fee increases are undesirable, especially for students, and that government subsidy is needed to prevent that undesirable effect” said Bañez.
The Anakbayan spokesperson also mentioned a previous report by the agency which said that 50% of all working students eventually are unable to finish their studies.
She said “Without a significant wage hike for Filipino workers, and an improvement in the livelihood of other poor Filipinos, more and more college students will be forced to work part-time. If what the CHED said is true, this will also mean a huge increase in the number of college drop-outs”.
Students to respond with nationwide strike
According to Bañez, Anakbayan has pledged its support to a possible nationwide student strike in November against the budget cuts.
She said that various youth groups and personalities which joined a series of anti-budget cut protests last September and this October, including a nationwide walkout and a lightning rally inside Noynoy’s ‘100 days’ town hall meeting, have realized the futility of simply negotiating with the administration.
“Mahirap kausapin ang nagbibingi-bingihan. If the government doesn’t want us to study anymore, then we will turn the streets into our own classrooms” ###