CHED retracts CHEM Memo14!

Last September 2006, the Commission on Higher Education released an amended version of CHED Memo 14 (http://www.ched.gov.ph/policies/CMO2006/CMO_42_S_2006.pdf), essentially retracting the earlier version.



CHED Memo 14 has earlier been declared 'illegal and unconstitutional' by the Congress Committe on Technical and Higher Education (see previous posts). As per the amended version, CHED has ordered private schools and administrators to 1.) conduct consultations with students and parents regardless of whether proposed increases are above or below the inflation rate; 2.) do away with other exemption clauses pertaining to the necessity of consultations; and 3.) impose a tuition cap based on 'inflationary adjustments'.

This development is seen as an initial victory for students. It is a direct result of the persistence and assertion of student councils and leaders and the nationwide Refund campaign on the basis of the illegality of CHED Memo 14. As a result of CHED's virtual retractment of the general policies imposed by CHED Memo 14, students now have more leverage and are more than justified to demand a Refund of all illegal tuition and other fee increases imposed during the previous semesters.

Furthermore, all other proposed tuition and other fee increases this February consultation period should be put on hold for as long as students' demand for a refund is not yet fully implemented. ###


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Bakit nananawagan ang mga estudyante ng refund sa matrikula?

Ipinatupad ng Commission on Higher Education ang bago nitong iskema para diumano sa tuition deregulation sa pamamagitan ng CHED Memorandum Order 14 (CHED Memo 14) na pinayagan ang mga eskwelahan na magtaas ng matrikula ng walang kaukulang konsultasyon sa mga estudyante, magulang, mga guro at iba pang mga maapektuhan nito.

Ayon sa CHED Memo 14, anumang panukalang pagtaas ay hindi na kailangan pang ikonsulta kung mas mababa ito sa kasalukuyang tantos ng implasyon (inflation rate, o 7.6 porsyento).


Samantala dahil sa paggigiit ng ating pagsusuri at panawagan sa Kongreso hinggil sa CHED Memo 14, idineklarang iligal ng Commission on Higher Education and Technical Education (CTHE) ng Kongreso ang CHED Memo 14 dahil nilalabag nito ang Republic Act 6728 na nagsasaad na, ““In any proposed increase in the rate of tuition fee, there shall be appropriate consultations conducted by the school administration with the duly organized parents and teachers associations and faculty associations with respect to secondary schools, and with student governments or councils, alumni and faculty associations with respect to colleges.” (Section 10)

Sa aktwal, mayroon nang mga eskwelahang napilitang magrefund ng ilang bahagi ng tuition katulad sa GAUF at UE. Nagpapatunay ito sa katumpakan ng ating mga panawagan at nagpapakita sa mas marami pang tagumpay na maaari nating kamtin.

Mahigit 400 eskwelahan at pamantasan ang nagtaas ng matrikula sa bisa ng CHED Memo 14 ngayong taon. Ang mga pagtaas na ito ay iligal at dapat lamang na ibalik sa mga estudyante.

Magkano ang dapat i-refund sa mga estudyante?

Anumang pagtaas mula sa singil sa matrikula noong nakaraang taon ay dapat isauli ng buo sa mga estudyante.

Sa kaso, halimbawa, ng University of the East-Recto, pumayag ang administrasyon na ibalik ang ibinayad ng mga estudyante na humigit sa inflation rate. Bagamat inisyal na tagumpay ito para sa mga estudyante, nararapat lamang na igiit pa rin ang ‘full refund’ ng lahat ng dagdag-singil sa matrikula dahil anumang pagtaas ay ginagabayan at nasa ilalim ng bisa ng iligal na CHED Memo 14. Kung gayon, maging ang mga eskwelahang naningil ng mas mababa sa inflation rate ay dapat mag-refund.

Sa kabuuang bilang ng mga eskwelahang nagtaas ng matrikula para sa taong ito, lagpas sa kalahati ang naningil na mas mataas sa inflation rate.

Posible pa ba ang refund kahit na nasa kalagitnaan na ng taon?

Oo. Dapat lamang igiit ng mga estudyante ang refund anumang petsa ngayong taon. Ngayong darating na ikalawang semestre, maaaring magbaba ng singil ang mga eskwelahan ayon sa halagang dapat isauli sa mga estudyante.

Ang lahat ng ito ay magiging possible lamang kung maugong ang kampanyang refund sa mga eskwelahan.

Paano magigiit sa mga eskwelahan na magpatupad ng tuition refund?

Kailangang mag-isyu ng panibagong memorandum ang CHED sa mga eskwelahang nagtaas ng matrikula ayon sa iligal na CHED Memo 14 na mag-refund. Sa kasalukyan, tanging memorandum pa lang para sa pag-refund ng mga eskwelahang nagtaas ng matrikula ng mas mataas sa inflation rate ang inilalabas ng CHED.

Sa kabila nito, mas mahalaga ang paggigiit ng mga estudyante sa kanilang karapatan sa tuition refund. Maaaring magpalaganap ng mga petition letter at reklamo sa CHED. Maaari ring maglunsad ng mga dialogue at iba pang lobbying effort sa mga administrasyon ng mga eskwelahan.

Higit sa lahat, kailangang mailantad sa mas malawak na bilang ng mga estudyante ang iligal na CHED Memo 14. Tanging sa sama-samang pagkilos ng mga estudyante sa pinakamaraming bilang ng paaralan sa buong bansa maggigiit ang tuition refund sa lalong madaling panahon. Iyon din ang paraan upang umalingawngaw ang ating sigaw sa pamahalaan na ihinto ang patakaran nitong deregulasyon ng edukasyon sa bansa. ###

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REFUND NOW!

Nitong nakaraang semestre, matagumpay nating nailantad ang di-makatarungan at iligal na Commission on Higher Education Memorandum Order 14 (CMO 14). May ilang eskwelahan na ang nagbalik ng partial na refund sa mga estudyante katulad ng La Salle-GAUF at University of the East.

Ngayong pagpasok ng ikalawang semestre, ipinagpapatuloy natin ang kampanya para sa pag-REFUND sa mga dagdag-bayaring siningil sa atin sa eskwelahan bunsod ng iligal na pagtaas ng matrikula at iba pang mga bayarin.

Ang CMO 14 ang ugat at ubod ng lahat ng iligal na pagtaas ng matrikula at iba pang singilin sa mga pribadong eskwelahan ngayong taon. Sa bisa ng CMO 14, tinatanggal sa ating mga estudyante ang karapatan sa konsultasyon sa anumang panukalang pagtaas ng bayarin sa eskwelahan. Nauna nang idineklara ng Committee on Technical and Higher Education ng Kongreso ang pagiging iligal ng CMO 14 dahil tahasan itong paglabag sa batas.

Marapat na maibalik sa mga estudyante ang anumang dagdag-singil. Di-makatarungan ang pagtaas ng mga bayarin, kahit na ito’y “adjustment” diumano sa inflation rate. Anumang dagdag-bayarin sa eskwelahan ay atake sa ating mga estudyante sa kasalukuyang panahong patuloy na tumataas ang presyo ng mga bilihin habang bumababa ang kakayahan nating tustusan ang ating pag-aaral. Simula pa noong nakaraang dekada, tumaas na ng 40 porsyento ang gastusin ng isang pamilyang Pilipino para sa eskwelahan. Dahil dito, taun-taong nadaragdagan ang bilang ng mga drop-out at out-of-school youth dahil sa abot-langit na halaga ng edukasyon sa bansa.

Sa pamamagitan ng ating mga inisyal na hakbangin, tampok na isinulong ng kampanyang REFUND ang mga opisyal na complaint na isinampa sa CHED ng mga lider-estudyante mula sa University of the East-Caloocan, University of the East-Recto, University of Sto. Tomas, De La Salle Araneta University (GAUF) at Mapua Institute of Technology. Sa GAUF, matagumpay na nakapaglunsad ng walk-out sa klase ang mga estudyante para sa panawagang REFUND.

Sa iba pang mga rehiyon, naging masikhay din ang panawagang REFUND. Sa Davao, sama-samang nakapagsumite ng petisyon ang mga estudyante ng mga pribadong eskwelahan. Lumalaganap pa rin hanggang ngayon ang signature campaign sa mga eskwelahan sa buong bansa para sa tuluyan nang pagbasura sa CMO 14.

Nagbunsod ito upang balikan ng CHED ang isa nitong resolusyon noong Mayo 8, 2006 na nagpapahintulot lamang sa pagtaas ng mga bayarin kung ito ay hindi lalagpas sa inflation rate (7.6 porsyento). Dahil dito, napilitan ang mga eskwelahan na mag-REFUND bagamat hanggang sa 7.6 porsyento lamang. Sa GAUF, halimbawa, nagkaroon ng 2.4 porsyentong REFUND, o P300; habang 9 porsyentong REFUND naman ang ipinapatupad ngayon sa UE, o P1,000-P2,000 kada estudyante.

Gayunpaman, hindi basta-bastang mapatatahimik ang mga estudyante hanggat hindi nakakamit ang FULL REFUND at ipinapatupad ito sa mas maraming eskwelahang nagtaas ng tuition. Malinaw ang ating pahayag at panawagan: Anumang pagtaas ngayong taon ay iligal dahil nakapailalim ito sa iligal na CMO 14. Anumang dagdag-singil ay marapat lang na ibalik ng buong-buo sa mga estudyante.

May inisyal man tayong mga tagumpay, nananatiling tuso ang mga pribadong eskwelahan at ang CHED. Ngayong ikalawang semestre, talamak pa rin ang patuloy at walang-habas na pagtaas ng matrikula at iba pang mga bayarin.

Sa UST, mahigit-kumulang P2,000 ang itinaas ng mga miscellaneous fee. Sa isang pribadong eskwelahan sa Laguna, nagtaas ng 22 porsyento sa matrikula para daw ipambili ng mga papel kapalit ng mga nalubog sa baha bunsod ng bagyong Milenyo.

Samakatwid, nagpapatuloy ang ating kampanya at lalo pa itong dapat na paigtingin. Hangad nating lalo pang umugong ang ating kampanya laban sa CMO 14 lalupa’t papalapit na ang tuition consultations ngayong darating na Pebrero. Gayundin, kasabay ng ating panawagan ngayong pagpasok ng panibagong semestre ang mas mababang singil sa matrikula at iba pang mga bayarin ayon na rin sa resolusyon ng CHED noong Mayo.

Nangangahulugan lang na inutil ang CMO 14 upang kontrolin ang mga taunang pagtaas ng matrikula at iba pang bayarin dahil sa halip na pigilan ang pagtaas, inawtorisa pa ng gobyerno ang mga ito. Lalo nitong niligalisa ang pagtaas ng mga bayarin sa mga pribadong paaralan.

Hindi lamang ang mga administrasyon at CHED ang dapat na singilin sa taunang pagtaas ng tuition at iba pang bayarin. Hindi ligtas ang kasalukuyang gobyerno sa pananagutan nito dahil pinapanatili nito ang pagiging komersyalisado at bulok ng sistema ng edukasyon sa bansa. Matagal nang inabandona ng gobyerno ang responsibilidad nito na pag-aralin ang kabataan dahil sa patakaran nitong deregulasyon ng edukasyon. Kaya’t tahasang pinapahintulutan at ginagatungan nito ang taunang pagtaas ng singil samantalang pinapaliit ang budget para sa sektor ng edukasyon.

Kabilang sa ating mga maaaring hakbangin ang sumusunod:

1. Ipanawagan ang pagtutol natin sa anumang pagtaas ng bayarin (tuition and other fees).
2. Patuloy na ibunyag ang di-makatarungan, anti-estudyante, at iligal na CMO 14.
3. Magkaisa at mariing ipanawagan ang kagyat na pagbabasura dito.
4. Maglunsad ng mga talakayan hinggil sa iligal na CMO 14 at kung bakit makatarungan ang panawagang REFUND.
5. Masusing mag-imbestiga sa mga bayaring sinisingil sa mga eskwelahan at magsampa ng mga opisyal na complaint sa CHED ang mga lider-estudyante.
6. Maglunsad ng mga aksyon at kilos-protesta para irehistro ang ating pahayag at panawagang REFUND.

REFUND NOW! Ibalik sa mga estudyante ang lahat ng iligal na pagtaas ng matrikula at iba pang bayarin!

Ibasura ang CHED Memo 14! Itigil ang pagtaas ng matrikula at mga bayarin!
Maninidigan Para sa Karapatan sa Edukasyon!
Lumahok Sa Pambansang Kilos-Protesta/Walkout! ng Kabataan sa Nobyembre 24!


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42 NCR colleges and universities to refund tuition

Youth groups organize refund monitoring committees
SEPTEMBER 9, 2006

“Our efforts are finally bearing fruit,” thus said National Union of Students of the Philippines President Marco Delos Reyes in a report they released regarding their campaign for refund of illegal tuition increases.

According to Commission on Higher Education – NCR (CHED-NCR), 42 private higher educational institutions (PHEIs) in Metro Manila will start refunding their tuition increases charged to students this academic year. The Commission said that these schools have already accepted and agreed with the Commission en Banc (CEB) resolution on May 8, 2006 that will “disallow all applications for tuition increase for SY 2006-2007 that is beyond the National Inflation Rate of 7.6%.”



Last Monday, September 4, the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education (CHTE) and the Committee on Basic Education and Culture (CBEC) held its 5th Joint Meeting on Tuition Fees. Compelled with subpoena duces tecum and ad testificandum, all CHED regional directors attended the meeting and reported the number of schools that increased their tuition and miscellaneous fees.

“Based on that Joint Committee meeting, we estimate that around 140 schools nationwide have adhered to the CEB resolution to lower their tuition increase to 7.6%; however these schools only agreed in June or July when the semester already started. Hence, we have around 140 schools that should refund to students their tuition and miscellaneous increase,” said Delos Reyes. He added that NUSP, along with other national student organizations will organize monitoring committees for the implementation of the refund.

“It’s a one step victory for the students that our legislators and CHED have seen the need to put measures to halt the yearly steep increase in school fees. Although we are happy for the lowering of tuition increase to 7.6%, we are still pursuing our actions for the refund of all illegal tuition and other fee increases under CHED Memo 14,” explained Delos Reyes.

Students have long assailed CMO 14 as “unjust and unfair”, and they are now contemplating on filing a petition before the Supreme Court to nullify the memorandum as it violated RA 6728 that required consultations in any proposed increase in tuition fees. CHED, meanwhile, have issue Special Order 106 series of 2006 for the creation of a technical committee for the amendment of the CMO 14.

Meanwhile, students from Region 11 may have a good chance in getting back all the tuition increase charged to them this academic year. The CHTE caught CHEDRO 11 Director red-handed when he reported that they approved thirty-two (32) private schools that “served notice” for a 7.6% tuition increase. That CHED regional director was then put to heavy questioning on why he allowed the tuition increases even without the proper documents. “Even CMO 14 requires a number of documents to be submitted before they can implement those tuition increases,” responded Delos Reyes.

“We’ve already instructed our formation and members in Region 11 to demand for the full refund of the tuition increase in these 32 schools. At the same time, our regional formations are continuously gathering information and are preparing to lodge more complaints in the coming week,” said Delos Reyes. ###

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Why are we calling for a refund?

Why do youth and student groups demand tuition refund?

The Commission on Higher Education implemented a new tuition regulation policy (CHED Memo Order 14) which allowed schools to increase tuition without consulting students, parents, faculty and other stakeholders of education if the increase is below the prevailing inflation rate.

According to the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education, the CHED Memo Order 14 is illegal since it violated Republic Act 6728 which states that, “In any proposed increase in the rate of tuition fee, there shall be appropriate consultations conducted by the school administration with the duly organized parents and teachers associations and faculty associations with respect to secondary schools, and with student governments or councils, alumni and faculty associations with respect to colleges.” (Section 10)

Since most schools adopted the ‘illegal’ CHED Memo Order 14, all tuition increases must be refunded to the students.



How much should be refunded?

The University of the East, which charged a tuition hike above the inflation rate, has agreed to return the excess fees it collected. But students are demanding the refund of the full amount of tuition increase. Even schools which implemented a tuition increase below the inflation rate must be directed to refund the students since the tuition increase proposal was guided by the “illegal” CHED Memo Order 14.

There were 395 schools which increased tuition this year. Most of them applied for a tuition hike above the inflation rate (7.6 percent).


Is tuition refund possible when classes have already started?

Yes. Students can avail of refund during payment for the final examination period. Schools can charge lower fees next semester.


How can schools be required to implement a tuition refund?

CHED must issue another memorandum requiring schools which implemented a tuition increase for the current schoolyear to refund the students. Public pressure on CHED to order a refund must continue. Students should file petition letters and complaints addressed to the leadership of CHED. Lawmakers can ask CHED to implement a tuition refund. ###


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TUITION CAMPAIGN UPDATE

Inihanda ng Tuition Monitor
Setyembre 2006


Tuloy-tuloy ang ating kampanya hinggil sa pagpapahinto ng pagtaas ng mga bayarin sa eskwelahan. Naibungad natin simula pa lamang nung unang kwarto ng taong 2006 ang ating masidhing pagtutol sa implementasyon ng CHED Memo Order 14 (CMO 14). Pinahintulutan ng CMO 14 ang mga eskwelahan na magtaas ng matrikula nang hindi kinokonsulta ang mga estudyante kung ang porsyento ng pagtaas ay hindi lalagpas sa national inflation rate (NIR).

Dahil sa mainit na kampanya ng mga estudyante, napilitang maglabas ang CHED ng isang resolusyon noong Mayo 8 na hindi na nito pinahihintulutan ang mga panukalang pagtaas sa matrikula at ibang bayarin na higit sa 7.6%.

Nabatid natin noong Hunyo na ilegal ang CMO 14 sapagkat nilabag nito ang Section 10 ng Republic Act 6728 na nagtatakda na kinakailangang dumaan sa konsultasyon ang anumang panukalang pagtaas sa matrikula. Sapagkat ilegal ang CMO 14, makatwiran nating ikinampanya ang pagbabalik-bayad ng mga ilegal na pagtaas sa matrikula at iba pang bayarin sa eskwelahan.



Congress Meeting on Tuition Fee Increases. Noong nakaraang Lunes, 4 Setyembre 2006, nagkaroon ng ika-limang joint-meeting ng House Committee on Higher and Technical Education (CHTE) at ng Committee on Basic Education and Culture (CBEC) tungkol sa pagtataas ng matrikula sa eskwela. Bunsod ng subpoena na ipinataw ng Kongreso sa Commission on Higher Education (CHED), lahat ng CHED regional directors ay dumalo sa pagpupulong na ito upang mag-report ng tuition increases sa kanilang nasasaklawang rehiyon.

Sa pagpupulong na ito, nagbigay ng ulat ang mga regional directors hinggil sa bilang ng mga pribadong paaralan na nagtaas ng kanilang matrikula:

Region 1: 31 eskwelahang humingi ng permiso sa pagtataas ng matrikula. Lahat ng ito ay nakapaloob sa NIR na 7.6%.

Region 2: 14 eskwelahan ang nag-apply at pinahintulutang magtaas ng matrikula. Apat dito ay dating mas mataas sa NIR ngunit ibinaba nito ang aplikasyon sa 7.6% dahil sa CHED en banc resolution noong Mayo na nabanggit sa itaas.

Region 4a: 66 eskwelahan ang nag-apply at pinahintulutang magtaas ng matrikula. 34 dito ay dating mas mataas sa NIR ngunit ibinaba nito ang aplikasyon sa 7.6%.

Region 4b: 5 eskwelahang humingi ng permiso sa pagtataas ng matrikula. Lahat ng ito ay nakapaloob sa NIR na 7.6%.

Region 5: 29 eskwelahan ang nag-apply; apat ang di-pinahintulutan dahil sa kakulangan ng dokumento at 25 ang pinahintulutang magtaas ng matrikula. Apat mula sa 25 na ito ay dating mas mataas sa NIR ngunit ibinaba nito ang aplikasyon sa 7.6%.

Region 6: 33 eskwelahang humingi ng permiso sa pagtataas ng matrikula. Lahat ng ito ay nakapaloob sa NIR na 7.6%.

Region 7: 23 eskwelahang humingi ng permiso sa pagtataas ng matrikula. Lahat ng ito ay nakapaloob sa NIR na 7.6%.

Region 8: walang nagtaas ng matrikula

Region 9: 20 eskwelahan ang humingi ng permiso sa pagtataas ng matrikula. Lahat ng ito ay nakapaloob sa NIR na 7.6%.

Region 10: 23 eskwelahan ang nag-apply at pinahintulutang magtaas ng matrikula. 10 dito ay dating mas mataas sa NIR ngunit ibinaba nito ang aplikasyon sa 7.6%.


Region 11: 32 eskwelahan ang inaprubahan ng CHEDRO 11 na magtaas ng matrikula ng 7.6% bagaman hindi nagbigay ang mga paaralang ito ng mga nararapat na dokumento at nagpaabot lamang ng “notice” sa CHED na sila ay magtataas.

Region 12: 4 eskwelahan ang humingi ng permiso sa pagtataas ng matrikula. Lahat ng ito ay nakapaloob sa NIR na 7.6%.

CAR: 14 eskwelahan ang nag-apply; dalawa ang di-pinahintulutan dahil sa kakulangan ng dokumento at 12 ang pinahintulutang magtaas ng matrikula. Ang lahat ng pagtaas ng matrikula ay hindi lalagpas sa 7.6%

CARAGA: 9 eskwelahan ang humingi ng permiso sa pagtataas ng matrikula. Lahat ng ito ay nakapaloob sa NIR na 7.6%.

NCR: 110 eskwelahan ang nag-apply; apat ang nag-atras ng kanilang aplikasyon at 106 ang pinahintulutang magtaas ng matrikula. 78 ang hindi lalagpas sa 7.6%, samantalang 21 ang mas mataas sa NIR. Pitong paaralan ang nagsumite ng apila na hindi ibaba ang porsiyento ng pagtaas ng kanilang matrikula patungong 7.6%. Ayon sa CHED-NCR, mayroong mahigit kumulang na 42 paaralan ang pumaloob sa CHED resolution na ibaba ang porsyento ng pagtaas ng matrikula, at sila ay dapat na mag balik-bayad sa mga estudyante.

Tuition Refund Campaign Prospects. Isang tagumpay para sa kabataan ang pagpapaatras ng porsyento ng pagtaas ng matrikula hanggang 7.6% bagaman ito ay hindi pa rin sasapat sa ating panawagan ng buong refund sa ilegal na pagtaas sa matrikula at ibang mga bayarin. Sa ating tantiya, humigit-kumulang 140 na eskwelahan sa buong bansa ang dapat na magbabalik-bayad ng matrikula. Dapat nating i-monitor na matupad ang refund sa mga eskwelahang ito habang ating isinusulong ang ating kampanya sa pagbabasura ng CMO 14 at pag rerefund na buong tuition at miscellaneous fee increases.

Pinag-aaralan natin ang pagsasampa ng petisyon sa Korte Suprema upang ibasura ang CMO 14 at ibalik sa mga estudyante ang mga ilegal na nakolektang matrikula at ibang bayarin. Dapat na maging petitioners sa nasabing kaso ang mga konseho, organisasyon at mga lider estudyante, lalo na sa mga eskwelahan na nakaranas ng pagtaas ng matrikula ngayong taon. Ating tinatanaw na maibasura ang CMO 14 bago pa matapos ang kasalukuyang semestre.

Samantala, naglabas na rin ng Special Order ang CHED na nagbuo sa isang Technical Committee upang pag-aralan at rebisahin ang CMO 14. Miyembro ng nabanggit na komite ang NUSP bilang student representative subalit mayorya pa rin sa komiteng ito ay galing sa mga organisasyong may-ari ng mga paaralan at administrador ng CHED.

Nangangahulugan lamang na kinakailangang paigtingin ang kampanyang masa upang maisulong ng tuloy-tuloy ang ating kampanya – sa CHED, Kongreso, at Korte Suprema. Marapat rin na makapag-file ng mga complaints ang mga estudyante sa iba’t ibang eskwelahan hinggil sa kanilang sobra-sobrang matrikula at iba’t ibang bayarin (exorbitant fees). Kailangang ilantad ang komersiyalisadong edukasyon na lalo pang tumitindi sa kasalukuyan pabor sa mga kapitalista-edukador. ###


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Student Manifesto of Unity

Full Refund of Illegal Tuition and Other Fee Increases

We, students and youth from different private and public colleges and universities in the country, demand a full refund of all illegal tuition and other fee increases imposed on us for this school year due to the recently-implemented Commission on Higher Education Memorandum Order No. 14 (CHED Memo Order 14).>

CHED Memo Order 14 did not put a stop but in contrast legitimized tuition and other fee increases for the present academic year. CHED Memo Order 14 stipulates that school administrators need not undergo the process of democratic consultations provided that proposed tuition and other fee increases are below the prevalent inflation rate (7.6 percent).

This year, 395 schools increased tuition and miscellaneous fees comprising of almost a quarter of the number of tertiary school in the country. These increases are illegal. No democratic consultations were held in most of these schools.

This is a clear violation of Republic Act 6728 which states that, “In any proposed increase in the rate of tuition fee, there shall be appropriate consultations conducted by the school administration with the duly organized parents and teachers associations and faculty associations with respect to secondary schools, and with student governments or councils, alumni and faculty associations with respect to colleges.” (Section 10)

CHED Memo Order 14 has also recently been declared illegal by the Congress Committee on Technical and Higher Education based on the abovementioned violation.

As a clear exploitation of guidelines provided by CHED Memo Order 14, school administrators were free to increase tuition and other school fees, without the benefit of consultations, for as long as these are below the inflation rate.

While a number of schools conducted which increased tuition and other fees above the inflation rate conducted consultations, we maintain that these increases are still illegal. Any tuition and other fee increases should undergo democratic consultations, regardless of any ceiling rate provided maliciously by the CHED.

We, therefore, demand that there should be a full refund of all illegal tuition and other fee increases imposed on students for this academic year. Every single peso counts for students who have to cope with skyrocketing prices of school needs and daily expenses. These illegally-imposed fee increases should be given back immediately to students.

We further call that CHED Memo Order 14 be scrapped, and that democratic consultations be held. We demand a freeze to all tuition and other fee increases until the CHED, with approproate consulations with the students, drafts a policy which genuinely regulates such.

We also enjoin our legislators to review and amend the Education Act of 1982 (BP 232) and the RA 6728 which lay the bases for a pro-student Philippine educational system.

Finally, we unite in asserting every Filipino youth’s right to quality and accessible education. ###
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CHED Memorandum Order 14

Revised Guidelines and Procedures to be observed by Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) intending to increase Tuition and Other School Fees and introduce New Fees

View and download full text here.

view and download full text of precedent CHED Memo Order 13, GUIDELINES ON THE PROCEDURES TO BE OBSERVED BY THE HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS (HEI’S) INTENDING TO INCREASE TUITION AND OTHER SCHOOL FEES EFFECTIVE ACADEMIC YEAR (AY) 2004-2005, here.

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Students' Guide to CHED Memo Order 14

Prepared by the National Union of Students of the Philippines
January 2006


Q: What is CHED Memorandum Order No. 14 or CMO 14?

A: CMO14, entitled “Guidelines and Procedures to be observed by Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) intending to increase Tuition and Other School Fees and introduce New Fees” is the Commission on Higher Education’s (CHED’s) response to the growing resistance of Filipinos over increasing tuition and other fees, which render access to education more difficult during these times of economic hardship and crisis. It is the revised guidelines (the previous guidelines being CHED Memorandum Order No. 13) to supposedly regulate tuition and other school fees. It has the following salient features:

1.) it covers not only tuition but “other school fee” increases including “new fees”

2.) allowable increase in both tuition and other fees less than or equivalent to the prevailing year’s inflation rates, shall not be subjected to consultations;

3.) increase of tuition and other fees over the prevailing year’s average inflation rate shall require a constitutional process with the concerned sectoral representatives.

4.) New fees shall be for actual specific student services rendered as may be identified by the school authorities and certified by the recognized student council and faculty association;

5.) Submission of a Certificate of Agreement signed by the duly authorized representatives of the HEI’s Administration, Student Councils/Governments, Faculty, Alumni and/or non-teaching permanent associations whenever applicable in cases that application of new fees are initiated and agreed upon by the students.

6.) The recognized student publication should be allowed to cover the consultation.

7.) The Higher Education Institutions shall submit all annual report on increases in other fees and as to how they were utilized.

8.) Organization of the Task Force on Tuition and Other School Fees at the Regional levels, in lieu of the Multi-Sectoral Committee on Tuition Fees.

9.) For applications referred by the CHED Regional Offices to the Regional Task Force on Tuition and Other School Fees, the CHEDROs shall enclose the application with its recommendation to the Executive Director within 30 days upon resolution by the Task Force but in no case later than April 15 of the year the intended increase shall be implemented

Q: How is CMO 14 different from CMO 13?

A: Unlike CHED Memorandum Order No. 13 (CMO 13), CMO 14 covers not only tuition increases but other fees and new fees as well, which include but are not limited to, miscellaneous fees, library fees, development fees and similar fees unilaterally imposed by school administrators on its students. It is important to note that CMO 14 actually does away with the consultation process altogether, provided that the proposed tuition or other fee increase is not higher than the inflation rate (i.e. the prevailing inflation rate is used as an index to tuition and other fees). This of course runs counter to the students’ assertion that all schools intending to increase tuition and other fees irrespective of the amount, must be subject to consultation among its constituents.

Q: How will the CHED regulate the tuition and other fees according to the memorandum?

A: CMO 14 allows unilateral increases in tuition and other fees by school administrators without consultations with its students if the rate of increase is less than or equivalent to the prevailing year’s inflation rate. Moreover, the school administration can go about its increases without the need for massive information dissemination to its student body on the impending fee increases.

§ Again, student consultations with the school administration will only commence if the proposed rate increases in tuition and other fees are above the prevailing year’s inflation rate.

§ At this point, CHED is employing a false sense of logic for using the prevailing inflation rate as an index to the rate of tuition and other fees. It is illogical to raise the rates of fee increases at a time when the prices of basic commodities (based on Consumer Price Index) rapidly increase, for instance, with the inflation rate at 12 percent. Rendering the tuition and other fee rate ceiling also at 12 percent would only mean a higher price for education at a time when students’ families deal with steeper prices of rice, oil, transportation, food and basic utilities. Enrolment would definitely decline due to the ensuing higher cost of education.

As a result, this policy of CHED would only mean a narrower access to education and endanger the rights of the students. By allowing increases without student consultations, the CHED is institutionalizing the annual increases in tuition and other fees and new fees as students are stricken of their role to confront these increases through student consultations. There must always be student consultations regardless of how small or big the rate increases will be.

Q: Will the tuition increase for incoming freshmen still be exempted from consultation with the student council?

A: Yes. The increase of tuition for incoming freshmen is also exempt from consultations with the student council.

§ Such provision in the new memo provides the leeway for the school owners to still use the ladderized tuition scheme or the carry-over scheme. This is a form of automatic tuition increase, wherein the tuition rate of a first year student is carried-over until he/she graduates when in fact, in the same school year, the tuition of freshmen students compared to other year levels is lower.

Q: What if our school administrators do not increase other fees and create new fees instead?

A:
New fees should be specific student services rendered such as internet fees, library fees, medical fees and the like. These fees must not be lumped together in the form of vague fees such as miscellaneous fees in which the proceeds of the fees are unclear. Moreover, this must be duly certified by the recognized student council.

Development fee, cultural fee and other fees which are ambiguous must not be collected or rather scrapped.

§ We must also take note that we have the right to question ambiguous fees and demand that these be cancelled. And if we found out that these fees are not used for actual services rendered to us, we can also demand for a refund!

Q: When are we to expect the tuition and other fee consultations?

A: Student consultations must be made not later than FEBRUARY 28 prior to the Academic Year (AY) the intended Increases shall take effect. Notices of the student consultation must be posted at least 30 days in conspicuous places such as school lobbies, corridors, classrooms, gates and entrances and administration buildings to ensure the dissemination of information and greater student involvement.

Q: Who among the students will attend the student consultation?

A: The supreme student council is allowed at least three representatives. In absence of the student council, all recognized student organizations are allowed a maximum of THREE representatives during the student consultation. The student publication is also allowed to cover the consultation.

Q: What are the documents that we must see first before coming up with a decision?

A: CMO 14 ensures that copies of the school’s latest audited financial statement and tuition utilizations must be made available to the student council during the consultation. Check for the following details:

§ 70% of the tuition increase must have been utilized for payment of increases in wages, salaries, and benefits of teaching and non-teaching personnel and staff

§ 20%of the same should have been used in the improvement of school buildings, facilities, equipments and other costs of operation like electricity, maintenance, etc.

§ the previous year’s other school fees and new fees were actually spent for the specific student services rendered (development fees, internet fees etc.)

§ for what purpose is the increase in tuition

Try to ask help from the experts or maybe your own accounting students to interpret the financial statement so to know the validity of the school’s claims and use material evidences to support your claims.

Do not forget to consult with your constituents on the pending fee increases, present your analysis and stand and document the result of your own consultations with the students.

Q: What can we do in case there are violations in the in provisions mentioned above?

A: We may always refuse to sign the attendance sheet that is required to furnish the Certificate of Conduct of consultation (CCC) and the Certificate of Agreement if we believe that there are violations in the consultation process.

§ The Certificate of Conduct of Consultation (CCC) is a certificate that must be notarized and signed accordingly by the school head and the sectoral representatives in the consultation, which include the alumni, faculty, non-teaching staff and the students. In addition, the document must be countersigned by the President of the Student Council to assure that the consultation was conducted accordingly. If the student representatives refuse to sign the certificate, it must be duly noted and submitted for notarization.

§ The Certificate of Agreement is a certificate signed by sectoral representatives, including students, during consultations for new fees provided these fees are initiated and agreed upon by the students.

*These are some of the documents that the school owners must submit to their respective CHED

Regional Offices not later than April 1 of the preceding AY the intended increase shall take effect, in order to make the increases in tuition and other fees or introduction of new fees binding, legal and recognized by the CHED.

The other documents which the school administration must submit to the CHED Regional Office not later than April 1 are the following:

§ Letter of Advice (LOA) – letter signed by the school head/university president informing the CHED of its intention to increase tuition and/or other fees or introduce new fees

§ Certificate of Compliance (COC) – certificate must be notarized and signed accordingly by the school head stating that seventy percent of the previous year’s incremental proceeds were used for the payment of increases in wages, salaries and benefits of teaching and non-teaching personnel and staff; Twenty Percent of the same was used in the improvement of school buildings, facilities, equipment and other costs of operation. Moreover, it must be certified in the previous year that other school fees and new fees were actually spent for the specific student services rendered (development fees, internet fees etc.)

§ Certificate of Intended Compliance (COIC) – certificate must be duly notarized, signed by the school head and the aforementioned representatives in the consultation, including the student representatives, and must specify the purposes of the increases of tuition and other fees, or imposition of new fees. In addition, it must be posted in conspicuous places in the schools or universities such as school lobbies, corridors, classrooms, gates and entrances and administration buildings.

§ Comparative Schedule of tuition and other school fees during the current AY and the proposed increases for the ensuing AY with the differences expressed in peso and percentage terms

§ Annual Report on the increases in other fees and intended utilization

Q: What’s next after the consultation process?

A: We must file our complaint to the CHED Regional Office (CHEDRO). The CHEDRO must act on the application of Higher Education Institutions for increases in tuition and other fees or new fees within thirty days from the filing of the application but not later than April 15. If CHEDRO fails to act within the scheduled date, it will be deemed approved. In cases of unresolved disputes on tuition and other fee increases, and new fees, it must elevate these cases to the Regional Task Force on Tuition and Other School Fees.

The Regional Task Force on Tuition and Other School Fees will serve as a recommendatory body for all disputes on applications for increases of tuition and other fees and imposition of new fees under the jurisdiction of the concerned CHED Regional Office. If the task force fails to act within thirty days from receipt of disputed cases shall result in the implementation of the increases in tuition and other fees and/or new fees.

The Task Force is composed of the following members:

i. CHED Regional Director – Chairman
ii. NEDA Regional Office – Vice-Chairman
iii. Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges (PASUC)
iv. Coordinating Council for Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA)
v. Association of Christian Schools, Colleges and Universities (ACSCU)
vi. Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP)
vii. Regional Faculty Union Representative
viii. Regional Student Representative – designated by the National Youth Commission
ix. National Anti-Poverty Commission

The Executive Director’s Office shall handle disputes on tuition and other fee increases and imposition of new fees unresolved by the Regional Task Force.

Q: What happens if our school already collected the fees but we still have a pending case?

A: If tuition and other fee increases are disputed by students or other concerned parties, proceeds from the increases shall be deposited in escrow until the case is resolved and the fees returned to the students or distributed accordingly.

Q: What are the sanctions if the school owners are found to have violated the memorandum?

A: The school shall be:
1. Barred from implementing tuition and other fee increases, and new fees
2. Subjected to administrative cases, including its responsible officers
3. Imposed penalties such as revocation of permits, downgrading of status, phase-put orders and other penalties deemed proper by the CHED

Q: What then is our role as student leaders in the wake of these circumstances?

A: Student councils must be adamant in keeping a tight watch on their respective CHEDROs and Regional Task Force on Tuition and Other School Fees to ensure that these offices take proper action regarding the disputes in tuition and other fee increases or new fees. If the CHEDRO or the Regional Task force merely sits on the cases for thirty days, it will be grossly disadvantageous to the students as the increases and new fee impositions will automatically be approved without the need for exhaustive deliberations and consultations by the two CHED bodies with the school administration vis-à-vis the protesting student councils.

In principle, such a bureaucratic process of dispute resolution is definitely against the interests of the students with respect to their rights and access to education. It favors school owners by automatically approving their applications for increases and new fees in the event of inaction by these bodies, instead of outright deferment until such time in which the bodies may convene and deliberate on the cases. As such, the right and access to education of the students are reined in at every step of the dispute resolution process.

Q: Is the composition of members of the Regional Task Force democratically representative of the stakeholders of education?

A: The composition of members of the Regional Task Force on Tuition and Other School Fees is totally objectionable to the interests of the students, especially those with dispute cases with their schools. Almost half (four out of nine) of the members of the task force are representatives of the four largest associations of school owners across the country (CEAP, COCOPEA, PASUC, ACSCU), in which they would expectedly deliberate or vote in favor of the HEIs applying for increases and new fees, as it is in their best interest as associations of school owners to do so. Meanwhile, the student sector, the main stakeholder in any educational institution, is accorded only one slot in the task force to defend the interests of the students and their right to education. For example, in cases like voting on tuition disputes, the lone student representative will easily be outvoted by the school owners. As such, the composition of members is totally unfair and undemocratic.

Besides, a mere recommendatory body should not have implementing powers to approve increases in tuition and other fees and new fees if they fail to act on the cases. It is better to immediately place this burden to the CHED Office of the Executive Director to ensure a fairer deliberation of the cases and allow the participation of the student council/representatives concerned.

Q: Should our struggle then stop when we have reached the highest level of the dispute resolution process, which is at the Office of the Executive Director?

A: This is not an indication that the demands of the students to stop the impending increases in tuition, other fees and new fees will be ensured. School owners will try to block our paths to our right to education in every step of the way, from the student consultations in the schools to every stage of the dispute resolution process up until the CHED Office of the Executive Director. Like past CHED memoranda, the CHED Memorandum No.14 in itself is flawed in the sense that it again favors school owners rather than recognizing the need of the youth to accessible and quality education.

Q: What is the significance of CMO 14 in the context of the how the government regards its obligation to education?

A: It is apparent that CMO 14 is at best a token response to the public clamor against excessive and skyrocketing school fees. By institutionalizing the annual increases in tuition, other fees and new fees, students are stricken of their role to confront these increases through student consultations. It is paramount to the government condoning unabated tuition hikes as long as these do not exceed the inflation rate.

To make matters worse, since CMO 14 covers not only tuition but other fees and new fees as well, this would mean that the said fees may now also be increased and imposed with impunity as long as these adhere to the ceiling rate (rate of inflation). What is even more glaring is the concept of a ceiling rate in the first place.

In light of the economic woes plaguing the Philippines, it is unreasonable to expect students and their families to be able to afford higher tuition and to pay additional and higher fees during a period of soaring oil prices, rising cost of basic commodities and most recently the imposition of the Expanded Value Added Tax (EVAT). Clearly the students and the public in general will continue to be at the losing end in this set-up as long as no serious attempt is exerted to genuinely take into consideration the concrete conditions of Filipinos being able to afford a more expensive education.

Q: What are our alternatives and calls to further our democratic right to education?

A. In light of the worsening economic conditions we demand the following:

1. That tuition and other fee increases imposed by our school administrations be thoroughly examined by all the stakeholders
2. That the students are properly and thoroughly consulted on each and every increase in tuition and other fees irrespective of the amount of increase
3. That the suitability of CMO 14 be critically examined from our concrete experiences during its implementation
4. That there be an immediate review of CMO 14 and that more consultations among different stakeholders be conducted on a nationwide basis to draft a more comprehensive and satisfactory document or even a proposed legislation regarding the matter of tuition.
5. That our call for a nationwide moratorium on tuition and other fee increases in all colleges and universities be heeded

The only effective way to advance our demands as students is through the broad unity and collective action of our sector to genuinely fight for our democratic right to education.

*****
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Walang kapantay na paglala ng krisis sa edukasyon sa ilalim ng rehimen ni Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

Hunyo 2006

Taun-taong sinasalubong ng batikos at protesta ang pagbubukas ng klase dahil sa patuloy na pagsidhi ng krisis sa sistemang pang-edukasyon at sa buong lipunan.

Inaasahan na ng bawat kabataan at estudyante ang taunang pagtaas ng matrikula at iba pang ma bayarin at ang walang-habas na pagkaltas ng badyet para sa edukasyon. Gayunpaman, higit na maigting ang protesta para sa taong ito dahil kakambal ito ng patuloy na paglapastangan sa karapatan ng kabataang makapag-aral, kaliwa’t kanan din ang maniobra ni Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo para makapanatili sa pwesto kapalit ng kapakanan at kagalingan ng kabataan at mamamayan.

I. Pinakamasahol na krisis

Kawawang kalagayan sa mga pampublikong paaralan


Taliwas sa pahayag ni Gloria sa naturang media briefing, nananatiling kapos na kapos ang mga kagamitan at serbisyo sa mga pampublikong paaralan sa bansa. Bago pa man bumulalas sa publiko ang mistulang ‘dagdag-bawas’ na naman ni Arroyo sa nakaraang presentasyon ni DedEd Acting Sec. Fe Hidalgo, hindi na kaila sa kabataan at mamamayan ang malaking kakulangan ng mga klasrum, na tinatayang umabot na sa 74,115, teksbuk, na lalagpas sa apat na milyon, at iba pang mga pasilidad sa mga pampublikong paaralang pang-elementarya at hayskul sa bansa.

Walang ibang dapat sisihin kundi ang napakaliit na badyet na inilalaan ng gobyerno sa sector ng edukasyon taun-taon. Ngayong taon, dahil sa paggigiit ni Arroyo, hindi naapruba ang humigit-kumulang P147B ang inilaang pondo ng gobyerno sa buong sektor ng edukasyon, P119B mula sa halagang ito ang nakalaan para sa DepEd. Ibig sabihin, mababa na nga, higit pang bababa sa ang badyet sa edukasyon sakaling matuloy ang re-enacment ng 2005 national budget para sa taong ito. Ayon kay dating DepEd Usec. Juan Miguel Luz, aabot sa P29B ang kinakailangang ilaan para lamang matugunan ang kakulangan sa klasrum para sa mahigit 20 milyong estudyante papasok sa elementarya at sekundarya para sa taong ito. Kung kokompyutin ang halaga ng badyet, aabot na lamang sa kulang-kulang P5 ang ginagastos ng gubyerno para sa araw-araw na edukasyon ng kada isang estudyanteng Pilipino.

Tulad ng nakaraang mga taon, ginigipit ang pondo sa edukasyon para mabayaran ang papalaking utang-panlabas ng gobyerno, gastusin sa militar at pulisya, at mga kapritsyo ni Arroyo para makapanatili sa pwesto.

Patuloy na pagtaas ng matrikula

Samantala, tuloy-tuloy ang pagtaas ng matrikula sa mga paaralan. Tinatayang 246 pribadong paaralan sa buong bansa ang nagtaas ng matrikula noong nakaraang taon. Lumobo pa ang bilang na ito pagsapit ng Mayo 2006 – tinatayang 390 pribadong paaralan ang nagtaas ng matrikula ngayong pasukan.

Kaya naman papalaki na rin ang bilang ng mga kabataan at estudayanteng hindi na makapag-aral. Sa tala mismo ng Commission on Higher Education, tinatayang 50 porsyento ng bilang ng mga estudyante ang napilitan nang tumigil sa pag-aaral para sa taong ito.

Tuloy-tuloy din ang pagtaas ng halaga ng edukasyon maging sa paaralang pampubliko. Sa kabila ng pahayag ng Malakanyang na wala diumanong pagtaas ng matrikula sa mga SUCs, itinaas ng 100 porsyento ang library fee sa Unibersidad ng Pilipinas, mula P400 tungong P800. Habang patuloy naman ang paniningil ng iba pang fees at maanomalyang iskemang ladderized tuition fee hike sa iba pang mga SUC sa buong bansa.

Kahit sa mga elementary at hayskul, sangkatutak ang mga sinisingal na mga fee kagaya ng PTA, sports fee, club fee, mga pakulong raffle ticket, at iba pa. Kaya naman sa kabila ng mga proklamasyong libre ang batayan at sekondaryong edukasyon, nananatiling malaking gastos ang magpaaral ng elementary at high school.


II. Pangunahing salarin: si Arroyo at ang kabuktutan ng kanyang gubyerno

Walang ibang dapat sisihin sa kalagayang ito kundi sa kawalang interes ng gubyerno ni Arroyo na pahalagahan ang edukasyon at ang patuloy na pangangayupapa ni Gloria sa malalaking kapitalista-edukador kapalit ng patuloy nilang pagsuporta sa kabila ng dumadausdos na popularidad ng rehimen sa hanay ng sektor ng edukasyon.

Regalo ni Arroyo sa mga kapitalista: CMO #14

Maituturing na pinakamasahol na suhol ni Gloria sa mga kapitalista-edukador ang CHED Memorandum Order # 14, o ang Guidelines and Procedures to be observed by Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) intending to increase Tuition and Other School Fees and introduce New Fees. Nakasaad sa CHED Memo 14 ang paglalagay ng ‘tuition cap,’ o hindi paghintulot sa mga pribadong paaralan na magtaas na matrikula ng lagpas sa kasalukuyang tantos ng implasyon (inflation rate). Ayon pa sa CHED, layunin din daw ng Memo 14 na gawing regular ang mga konsultasyon ng mga pribadong paaralan sa mga magulang at estudyante. Kasama rin sa mga saklaw ng CHED Memo 14 ang iba pang mga panukalang pagtaas ng mga bayarin sa eskwelahan (miscellaneous fees) bukod sa matrikula.

Liniligalisa ng CHED Memo 14 ang taunang pagtaas ng matrikula at tuluyan nang tinatanggalan ang mga estudyante at magulang ng karapatang dumalo sa mga konsultasyon. Kung pagbabatayan ang kasalukuyang talaan ng mga nagtaas ng bilang ng nagtaas ng matrikula at iba pang mga bayarin ngayong taon, tulad ng CHED Memo 13, nananatiling inutil ang CHED Memo 14 sa pagkontrol sa taunang pagtaas ng matrikula. Binabale wala nito ang panawagan ng pag-iimbestiga at paglalagay ng moratoryum sa sobrang pagtaas ng matrikula at binibigyang lisensya pa ang mas maraming mga pagtataas. Wala itong idinulot kundi palalain ang CHED Memo 13 at iba pang patakaran ng gobyerno sa deregulasyon ng matrikula.

Kabuktutan ni Arroyo, bumiktima sa kabataan

Mula nang maupo sa poder, pinagtaksilan na ni Arroyo ang kabataan. Higit pa ngayong inilulubog ng kanyang mga sakim na pakana para makapanatili sa pwesto eng edukasyon sa mas malalim na krisis.

Dahil sa pinipiling unahin ang pagkapit-tuko sa kapangyarihan, ang pondo na ilalaan sana sa edukasyon ay napupunta sa kabuktutan ng rehimen. Noong 2004, ang idagdagdag sanang badyet sa DepEd ay hindi inapruba at ginamit ni Arroyo sa kampanya. Kung tutuusin, simula ng 2001, pababa na nga ang badyet ng edukasyon, ibinubulsa pa niya ang sana’y pang-agapay sa krisis. Napakarami sanang pera na maaaring ilaan sa edukasyon, pero napupunta ito sa kabuktutan ni Arroyo at ng kanyang pamilya, bukod pa sa misprayoritisasyon ng pondo sa pambayad utang at gastusing militar.

Kahinahinalang tila walang pang-dagdag ang gobyerno ni Arroyo sa pondo ng edukasyon samantalang samu’t saring mga programa at pakana ang sinasabuyan niya ng biyaya. Walang badyet para sa edukasyon dahil inilalaan ito ni Gloria para ilarga ang charter change at iba pa niyang pakana para makapanatili sa pwesto. Ang deadlock ng Senado at Kongreso sa pag-apruba ng 2006 budget ay bunga ng pagmamatigas ng Malacañang na ipasa ang P64 bilyong ‘presidential pork barrel’ nito. Ang P26.3 bilyon ng pork barrel ay nakalaan diumano sa mga programa ng Malacañang (kabilang ang P5B Kilos Asenso at P 3.69 B Kalayaan Program), samantalang may kabuuang P 37.7 bilyong unprogrammed funds.

Nakababahala ring may pondo ang gobyerno para sa gera at pagpatay gayong wala para sa edukasyon. Kamakailan, naglaan si Gloria ng P1 bilyong pondo pambili ng bago at dagdag na armas para sa PNP at AFP para diumano sa ‘counter-insurgency’ program na naglalayong sugpuin ang ‘Kaliwa’ sa loob ng dalawang taon. Hiwalay pa ito sa P72 bilyong inilaan para naman sa tinagurian ‘regional development’ program na nakatuon sa tinukoy nitong malalakas na erya ng rebelyon sa bansa (Timog Katagalugan, Gitnang Luzon at Sorsogon).

Dahil din sa mga sakim na pakana, si Arroyo mismo ang nagtutulak ng pagtataas ng tuition. Sa desperasyon nitong makapanatili sa pwesto, sinusuhulan niya ang mga kapitalista edukador at hinahayaang magtaas ng tuition, kapalit ng pananatili ng suporta nila sa kanyang administrasyon at pagpigil sa mga pag-aalsang mag-aaral. Ang biktima: tayo, ang kabataang Pilipino na hindi na makayanan ang taas ng halaga ng ating edukasyon.

Malinaw ang kinakaharap sa kasalukuyan ng kabataan at estudyante. Sa ilalim ng panunungkulan ni Gloria, hindi maipapatupad ang matagal nang panawagang regulasyon sa pagtaas ng matrikula. Higit nitong pinaprayotisa ang interes ng malalaking kapitalista-edukador kapalit ng suportang pulitikal. Gayundin, suntok sa buwan ang mga pangakong mas mataas na badyet sa edukasyon. Tulad ng nakaraang mga taon, una pa rin sa listahan ng pamahalaan ang mas mataas na pondo para sa pambayad-utang, militar at iba pang mga maniobra para makapanatili sa kapangyarihan.

Kung hindi natin mapipigilan ang rehimeng ito sa mga pakana para makapagtagal sa kapangyarihan, higit na matinding krisis ang tiyak na haharapin ng edukasyon, higit na madilim na kinabukasan ang maghihintay sa atin. Ito ang matinding katotohanan na ating kailangang harapin.

III. Mga pakanang higit pang magpapasahol ng krisis

Charter change: Pagpapanatili sa kontra-kabataan at estudyanteng rehimen

Kaya naman gayon na lamang ang nararapat na mariing pagtutol ng kabataan at estudyante sa maniobrang Charter Change ni Gloria. Batid nilang isa lamang itong maniobra ng rehimen para takasan ang kaliwa’t kanang mga kasalanan nito sa kabataan at mamamayan.

Sa panukalang Cha-cha, mananatiling Pinuno ng Gobyerno at estado si Arroyo hanggang 2010 o mas matagal pa. Bukod dito, basbasan pa siya ng higit na kapangyarihan sa gubyerno sa pamamagitan ng pagpapadali ng muling proklamasyon ng Martial Law, at pagbubuo ng isang parliyamentong magiging sunud-sunuran kay Arroyo.

Sa kabilang banda, higit namang sasalantain ng Cha-cha ang kabataan at papalalain ang krisis sa edukasyon. Ang Cha-cha ni Arroyo ay nangangahulugan ng higit na pagbababa ng badyet sa edukasyon at pagtataas ng tuition. Tatanggalin sa Cha-cha ang probiyon ng 1987 Konstitusyon na nagdidiin sa papel ng kabataan sa lipunan at sa pagbibigay ng prayoridad, kung gayon, sa kanilang mga karapatan at pangangailangan, pangunahin na sa edukasyon. Bukod dito, ibubukas din ng Cha-cha ng 100% sa dayuhan ang mga unibersidad at kolehiyo na magdudulot hindi lamang ng higit na pagiging mahal ng edukasyon kundi magpapasidhi sa kolonyal na oryentasyon nito.

Malinaw na malinaw sa kabataan na walang magandang maidudulot sa sistemang pang-edukasyon at kinabukasan ng kabataan ang patuloy pang pananatili ni Gloria sa Malakanyang. Sa gitna ng matinding krisis na kinakaharap ng sistemang pang-edukasyon, isang matinding insulto sa kabataan ang anumang panukalang patagalin pa si Gloria sa pwesto.

Kasabay ng pagpasok ng bagong taong akademiko ang pagpapanibagong-sigla ng paglaban ng mga estudyante sa mga kampus at lansangan. Paparami ang bilang ng pagkilos ng mga mag-aaral na tiyak na hahantong sa isang malawak at malakas na kilusang boykot ng mga klase laban sa mga patakaran pamahalaan.

Kabulukan sa kaibuturan

Sa kaibuturan ng krisis makikita ang tunay na kalagayan ng edukasyong Pilipino: komersyalisado, kolonyal at represibo. Ito ang katangian ng edukasyong itinataguyod ng mga nakaraan pang rehimen at ngayong ipinagpapatuloy ni Arroyo. Patunay dito ang patuloy na pagpapatupad ng mga pangmatagalang programang umaaayon sa ganitong oryentasyon. Kung pag-aaralan kung ano ang pangmatagalang tanaw ng pamahalaan sa edukasyon, mauunawaan kung bakit hindi makaalpas ang sektor sa krisis.

· Education Act of 1982 ang isa sa mga matagal ng salarin sa paglala ng krisis sa sektor, na magpahanggang ngayon ay hindi pa rin natatanggal at napag-aaralan. Itinutulak ng batas ang tuwirang pagdederegulisa sa pagtaas ng matrikula at iba pang mga bayarin sa loob ng mga paaralan at pamantasan.

· Long Term Higher Education Development Plan (LTHEDP) 2001-2010. Binalangkas ito ng CHED upang gabayan ang direksiyon ng higher education sa bansa ngayong dekada. Kailangan daw maging angkop ang edukasyon sa ating “knowledge-based economy” ngayong nasa panahon na tayo ng “borderless education.” Balak ding idebelop ang isang service-oriented higher education na magbubunsod ng kasiglahan sa ating ekonomiya.

· Medium Term Higher Education Development and Investment Plan (MTHEDIP) 2001-2004. Ito ang ambisyosong programa ng CHED sa susunod na tatlong taon batay sa mga ginawang rekomendasyon ng mga nakaraang rehimen. Layon nitong bigyan ng solusyon ang isyu ng mababang kalidad ng edukasyon sa kolehiyo at ang usapin ng equity o access ng mahihirap sa mga pamantasan. Subalit tila niloloko ng CHED ang kanyang sarili dahil ang ibinabandila nitong programa ay nais idebelop ang edukasyon sa kolehiyo sa pamamagitan ng pagbabawas ng mga pampublikong kolehiyo sa bansa.

· Restructured Basic Education Curriculum (RBEC). Ang solusyon ng DepEd sa mababang kalidad ng edukasyon ay ang pagbabago ng kurikulum sa elementarya at hayskul. Lima na lang ang core subject ng mga estudyante: English, Science, Math, Filipino at Makabayan – pinagsama-samang araling panlipunan, musika, PE, health, at technology and home economcs. Sa paglabnaw ng pagtuturo sa kasaysayan at ng lahing Pilipino, higit nitong patitingkarin ang kolonyal na oryentasyon ng edukasyon sa bansa. Palibhasa’y ang kailangan lamang ng mga korporasyong multinasyunal ay mga mangagawa na kaunti lamang ang kasanayan kung kaya’t kahit ang isang holistikong edukasyon ay isasakripisyo ng pamahalaan.

Bahagi rin ng mga programa ang unti-unting pagbawi sa mga demokratikong karapatang nakamit ng mga kabataan sa loob ng kampus at pagpapalala ng repreyon sa mga mag-aaral sa mga paaralan.

Malinaw na ibinabalangkas ng gubyerno ang sistema ng edukasyon ng bansa sa mga patakarang deregulasyon, liberalisasyon at pribatisasyon sa ilalim ng bandera ng imperyalistang globalisasyon. Maging ang edukasyon ay nakaamba ng isuko sa kasunduang General Agreement on Trades in Services (GATS) sa WTO. Walang ibang pinagsisilbihan ang mga patakarang ito ng gobyerno kundi ang mga malalaking negosyanteng kasapakat ni Gloria at mga dayuhang mamumuhunan sa bansa. Sa kabilang banda, sangkatutak na pinaeperwisyo ang idudulot nito sa mga kabataan at patuloy na pagsidhi ng krisis ng edukasyon sa bansa.

IV. Tugon sa krisis, sama-samang paglaban


Ang ating sigaw: Ipaglaban ang karapatan sa edukasyon! Patalsikin si Gloria!

Ang panawagan ng sektor ng kabataan at estudyante na itaas ang badyet sa edukasyon at tugunan ang krisis sa edukasyon ay nangangahulugan ng mahigpit na pangangailangang patalsikin si Gloria sa lalong madaling panahon. Matapos ang ilang taon ng pagtataksil at panloloko sa atin ng rehimen, malinaw na sa ating walang mapapala ang edukasyon sa ilalim ng rehimeng ito kundi higit na pagkalugmok. Kung gayon ay kailangang mahigpit na makibahagi sa paglaban ng malawak na mamamayan para singilin at papanagutin si Gloria sa matinding kahirapan, pambubusabos at panunupil na ibinibigwas ng kanyang rehimen.

Sa gitna rin ng mga pulitikal na pamamaslang sa mga aktibista at mamamahayag, higit na nasisindihan ang katwiran at determinasyon ng mamamayan na alisin na si Gloria sa panunungkulan. Ang pambansang patakaran nito ng pamamaslang sa kasalukuyan na bumiktima na ng mahigit 700 ay nagpapatibay ng ating dahilan upang kamtin ang hutisya at lumaban. Walang ibang pagsisilbihan ang nagkakaisang pagkilos ng kabataan at estudyante kundi ang tuluyan nang paghiwalay at paglantad sa ilihitimo at bulok na panunungkulan ni Gloria.

Ang istratehikong layon ng kabataan: Edukasyong Pilipino para sa Kabataang Pilipino
Upang wakasan ang krisis ng edukasyon, kinakailangang ibagsak ang kolonyal, komersyalisado at represibong edukasyon at itaguyod ang tunay na edukasyon para sa kabataang Pilipino: makabayan, siyentipiko at pang-masa.

Makatwiran ang ating pakikibaka para sa ang isang pangmasa, makabayan at siyentipikong edukasyon. Upang tapusin na ang misedukasyon ng mga Pilipino ay nangangailangan ng isang makabayang edukasyon. May iniwang mga kataga si Renato Constantino:
“…the education of the Filipino must be a Filipino education. It must be based on the needs of the nation and the goals of the nation. The object is not merely to produce men and women who can read and write or wo can add and subtract. The primary object is to produce a citizenry that appreciates and is conscious of its nationhood and has national goals for the betterment of the community…”

Para makamit ito, dapat kumilos ang kabataan para baguhin ang sistemang panlipunan na nagluluwal sa bulok na sistemang pang-edukasyon at nagtataksil sa kanyang kabataan at mamamayan. Hindi magiging sapat ang makakuha ng mga reporma sa edukasyon habang hindi nag-aambag sa pagbabago ng katangiang pampulitika at pang-ekonomiko ng bansa. Hangga’t malakolonyal at malapyudal ang sistemang panlipunan ay hindi mapipigil ang pagsisilbi ng edukasyon sa interes ng iilan at ng mga dayuhan.
Matagumpay nating makakamit ang edukasyong makbayan, siyentipiko at pang-masa sa ating pakikibaka kasama ng mamamayang Pilipino para sa isang lipunang tunay na malaya, demokratiko at masagana.

Ang ating mga panawagan:

Ibasura ang CHED Memo 14! Itigil ang patuloy na pagsingil ng mataas na matrikula!
Edukasyon, karapatan ng mamamayan!
Biguin ang pakanang cha-cha ni Gloria!
Ipagtanggol ang pambansang patrimonya!
Tutulan ang imperyalistang globalisasyon at mga patakarang liberalisasyon!
Patalsikin si Gloria!
Isulong ang pambansa, siyentipiko at makamasang edukasyon! (end)
Click here to read the whole article.>>

Balik-Bayad: Kampanya laban sa iligal na paniningil ng matrikula at iba pang bayarin sa eskwelahan

Simula nang magbukas ang klase nitong nakaraang Hunyo, ano ang mga isyung sumambulat sa kabataan kaugnay ng karapatan sa edukasyon?>


Nagtataasang singil sa matrikula at iba pang mga bayarin ang sumalubong sa kabataan nitong nakaraang pasukan.

Tinatayang 395 na pamantasan sa buong bansa ang inaprubahan ng Commission on Higher Education (CHED) na magtaas ng matrikula para sa taong ito. Sa bilang na ito, 194 ang mas mataas sa nakatalang inflation rate (7.6 porsyento) nitong taon habang 201 naman ang mas mababa o kapantay ng inflation rate. Dahil sa masahol at anti-estudyanteng CHED Memorandum Order No. 14, 201 paaralan ang nagtaas ng matrikula nang hindi dumaan sa kaukulang konsultasyon sa mga esudyante at magulang. Nakasaad kasi sa CHED Memo Order 14 na hindi na kailangan pang dumaan sa proseso ng konsultasyon ang anumang panukalang pagtaas ng matrikula na mas mababa sa inflation rate, at gayundin para sa mga panukalang pagtaas ng singil sa matrikula ng mga freshman.

Gayunpaman, marami rin sa mga eskwelahang nagtaas ng matrikula nang mas mataas sa inflation rate ang hindi na dumaan pa sa konsultasyon. Sa kaso, halimbawa, ng University of the East-Recto at Caloocan at De La Salle Araneta University, iligal na ipinataw ang 8.5% (UE-Recto), 9.93% (UE-Caloocan) at 10% (DLSAU) na pagtaas ng matrikula na lagpas sa inflation rate nitong nakaraang pasukan at walang inilunsad na konsultasyon sa mga estudyante.

Hiwalay pa ito sa abot-langit ding pagtaas ng mga miscellaneous fee sa mga pamantasan. Sa University of Sto. Tomas, halimbawa, tampok ang pagtaas ng lecture tuition fee ng 7 porsyento para sa freshmen at 5.5 porsyento para sa iba pang mga baiting. Tumaas din ang laboratory tuition mula 6 hanggang 44 porsyento at ang samu’t saring mga miscelleneous fees, other fees at other charges ay nagsipagtaasan mula 6 hanggang 227 porsyento. Pinakamalaking pagtaas ang althletic fee para sa 4th year students, mula sa P275 hanggang P900 para sa taong ito.

Hindi na nakagugulat ang ganitong mga imposisyon sa mga estudyante dahil malaon nang patakaran ng pamahalaan, sa pamamagitan ng CHED, ang tuluy-tuloy na deregulasyon ng edukasyon. Isa lamang matingkad na patunay ang CHED Memo Order 14 sa patuloy na pagkandili ng gobyerno ni Arroyo patakarang deregulasyon para bigyang-pabor ang mga kapitalista-edukador sa halip na isaalang-alang ang kapakanan ng mga estudyante.

Ano na ang inabot ng kampanya ng kabataan laban sa anti-estudyanteng CHED Memo Order No. 14?
Isang malaking tagumpay ng mga estudyante ang pahayag mismo ng House Committee on Higher and Technical Education noong nakaraang Hunyo na iligal ang CHED Memo Order 14. Dahil nakasaad sa Section 10 ng Republic Act 6728 na kinakailangang dumaan sa konsultasyon ang anumang panukalang pagtaas ng matrikula, maliwanag na labag sa batas ang nasabing memo ng CHED.

Sa kasalukuyan, bunga ng regular na dialogue at debate sa pagitan ng ilang mga lider-estudyante at mga opisyal ng CHED, nailagay sa isang depensibang pusisyon ang huli at napilitang maghayag na hindi nito pahihintulutan ang anumang pagtaas ng matrikula na mas mataas sa inflation rate.

Bagamat maituturing itong isang inisyal na tagumpay, kinakailangan pa rin ng isang malakas na kilusang estudyante laban sa iligal na pagtaas ng matrikula at iba pang mga bayarin sampu ng CHED Memo Order 14. Tanging sa malakas, koordinado at sama-samang pagkilos at pagprotesta ng mga estudyante ganap na makakamit ang kagyat nating panawagang REFUND ng lahat ng mga iligal na singil sa matrikula at iba pang bayarin para sa taong ito. Kaakibat ng kampanyang ito ang panawagang tuluyan nang ibasura ang anti-estudyanteng CHED Memo Order 14.

Samantala, habang patuloy tayong umaani ng sapat na lakas para ibuwelo ang mga malalakihang protesta, umani na rin ng mga taktikal na tagumpay ang mga estudyante sa ilang mga pamantasan – partikular ang UE at ang pamantasan ng De La Salle Araneta. Sa mismong araw ng pagsampa ng kaso ng mga estudyante sa CHED laban sa kanilang administrasyon (Hunyo 28), tumawag sa CHED ang administrasyon ng mga naturang paaralan at nagsabing ire-refund nila ang siningil na dagdag matrikula na lagpas sa 7.6 porsyentong pinapayagan ng CHED.

Bagama’t tagumpay ito, tuloy ang ating panawagan na buong refund sa lahat ng itinaas na matrikula at bayarin sa buong bansa dahil ang lahat ng ito ay iligal.

Ano naman ang kalagayan ng mga state colleges and universities (SUCs)?

Re-enacted budget at supplemental budget
Dahil sa taun-taong pagkaltas ng badyet para sa edukasyon (tingnan ang talata sa baba), lalong kalunos-lunos pa rin ang kalagayan ng mga SUCs.

Kapansin-pansin sa nakaraang SONA ni Arroyo ang kawalan ng kongkretong pahayag hinggil sa plano ng kanyang pamahalaan para sa edukasyon.

Sa pagmamaniobra ng Malakanyang, hindi inaprubahan ang panukalang pambansang badyet ng Senado at sa halip ay ipina-re-enact ang pambansang badyet ng 2005 para sa taong ito sa layuning makakamit ng mas malaking pondo para sa mga maanomalyang programa ni Arroyo.

Ang re-enactment ng pambansang badyet ay nangangahulugan ng higit na mas mababang subsidyo ng gobyerno para sa edukasyon. Matapos ang SONA, naglabas ng isang tinaguriang supplemental budget na may halagang P46.4 bilyon ang Malakanyang.

Ngunit saan ba mapupunta ang kalakhan ng supplemental budget na ito? Walang ibang popondohan ito kundi ang patuloy na pagkiling ng administrasyong Arroyo sa kanyang all-out-war at ang panunuhol nito sa mga lokal na opisyal para suportahan ang charter change at paghahanda ni Arroyo para sa eleksyon sa 2007.

Ayon sa appropriations committee ng Kongreso, and pinakamalaking bahagi ng P46.4 bilyon supplemental fund ay mapupunta sa Internal Revenue Allotment o IRA ng mga lokal na pamahalaan (LGUs), o P14.8 bilyon. Samantala, 30 porsyento naman ang mapupunta sa militar bilang pangdagdag sa nauna nang inilabas na P1 bilyong pondo para sa all-out-war laban sa New People’s Army. Habang P9.5B lamang ang inilaan mula sa supplemental budget para sa edukasyon, kumpara sa P20 bilyong discretionary fund ni Arroyo para pondohan ang kanyang mga programa.

Komersyalisasyon ng edukasyon
Kaakibat ng malaking kaltas sa pondo ng mga state universities and colleges, tuluy-tuloy naman ang pagtaas ng matrikula at iba’t iba pang mga bayarin sa mga SUCs. Ito ay sa kabila ng memorandum na inilabas ng CHED noong nakaraang Mayo na hindi raw pahihintulutan ang anumang pagtaas sa matrikula o iba pang bayarin sa mga SUCs ngayong taon.

Sa mga SUC, pinakatampok ang napakalaking pagtaas ng matrikula sa University of the Philippines-Manila College of Medicine, mula P11,000 tungong P21,000 kada semester. Dagdag pa rito ang panukalang pagtaas ng tuition mula P300 hanggang P1000 sa mga UP yunit sa Manila, Diliman, Los Baños habang P250 hanggang P600 naman sa UP Mindanao, Visayas, Pampanga at Baguio. Sa Polytechnic University of the Philippines naman, laganap ang absurdong processing fee na sinisingil sa mga estudyante.

Ang lahat ng ito ay manipestasyon ng papatinding komersyalisasyon sa edukasyon.

Higit na nakapangangalit ang balakin ng CHED na magtayo ng mga call center sa loob mismo ng mga SUC. Sa ilalim ng bandera ng ‘ready manpower,’ ‘globalized curriculum’ at ‘employment for new graduates,’ walang-pagpapanggap na ang pakikipagsabwatan ng mga SUC sa mga kumpanyang multinasyunal para lamang makapangalap ng dagdag na pondo para sa mga SUC.

Sa nasabing plano, target na tayuan ng call centers ang 25 na SUCs sa bansa kabilang ang Mariano Marcos State University (Region I), Isabela State University (Region II), Polytechnic University of the Philippines (NCR), Cavite State University (Region IV) at Bicol University (Region IV).

Walang ibang makikinabang sa iskemang ito kundi ang gobyerno na malaon nang nag-iisip ng mga paraan para gradwal na bawasan ang subsidyo ng mga SUC. Sa malaon, mangangahulugan ito ng tuluyan nang pagtalikod ng estado sa responsibilidad nitong pag-aralin sa mababang halaga ang mga estudyante sa mga pamantasan.

Ano ang pananagutan ng rehimeng Macapagal-Arroyo sa lumalalang kalagayan ng edukasyon?

Malinaw sa ganitong balangkas na ang pangunahing may pananagutan ng kasalukuyang krisis sa edukasyon ay ang rehimeng Arroyo.

Hindi na maitatago ng pamahalaang Arroyo ang kanyang pagtataksil sa kabataang Pilipino. Lalong sumasahol ang kalunos-lunos nang kalagayan ng edukasyon at tumitindi ang komersyalisasyon ng edukasyon. Ang pagbibigay ng todo-todong prayoridad ng pamahalaan sa pakanang charter change at pagbibigay prayoridad sa badyet para sa programang all-out-war ng rehimen ay lalong nagpapatindi sa malala nang krisis sa edukasyon. Gayundin, ang patuloy na pagkunsinti ng administrasyong Arroyo sa patuloy na pagkamal ng kita ng kapitalista-edukador sa ilalim ng patakarang deregulasyon ng edukasyon ay patunay lamang malinaw na hindi pagprayoritisa ng gobyerno sa kapakanan ng mga estudyante.

Kung kaya’t kaugnay pa rin ng kampanya ng mga estudyante ang panawagan para sa panagutin at patalsikin si Arroyo. Habang tumatagal si Gloria sa panunungkulan, lalong nagigipit ang karapatan sa edukasyon at mga demokratikong interes ng kabataan.

Walang maaliwalas na kinabukasan ang kabataan hanggang si Gloria ay nasa Malakanyang.

Ang ating mga panawagan:

Balik-bayad sa lahat ng iligal na matrikula at iba pang bayarin sa eskwela, ngayon na!
Itigil ang iligal na paniningil ng matrikula at iba pang bayarin!
Ibasura ang CHED Memo # 14!
Ibasura ang Education Act of 1982!
Ipaglaban ang mas mataas na badyet sa edukasyon at serbisyong panlipunan!
Edukasyon, hindi giyera!
Tutulan ang komersyalisasyon ng edukasyon!
Gloria, panagutin at patalsikin!
Click here to read the whole article.>>

Students' Critique of CHED Memo Order 14

Prepared by the National Executive Board
National Union of Students of the Philippines
May 2006>

I. Introduction

CHED Memo Order 14 (CMO 14), entitled “Guidelines and Procedures to be observed by Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) intending to increase Tuition and Other School Fees and introduce New Fees” is the Commission on Higher Education’s (CHED) response to the growing resistance of Filipinos over increasing tuition and other fees, which render access to education more difficult during these times of economic hardship and crisis. It has the following features, according to CHED:

1. it covers not only tuition but “other school fee” increases including “new fees”;

2. allowable increase in both tuition and other fees less than or equivalent to the prevailing year’s inflation rates, shall not be subjected to consultations;

3. increase of tuition and other fees over the prevailing year’s average inflation rate shall require a consultation process with the concerned sectoral representatives;

4. New fees shall be for actual specific student services rendered as may be identified by the school authorities and certified by the recognized student council and faculty association;

5. Submission of a Certificate of Agreement signed by the duly authorized representatives of the HEI’s Administration, Student Councils/Governments, Faculty, Alumni and/or non-teaching permanent associations whenever applicable in cases that application of new fees are initiated and agreed upon by the students;

6. The recognized student publication should be allowed to cover the consultation;

7. The Higher Education Institutions shall submit all annual report on increases in other fees and as to how they were utilized;

8. Organization of the Task Force on Tuition and Other School Fees at the Regional levels, in lieu of the Multi-Sectoral Committee on Tuition Fees;

9. For applications referred by the CHED Regional Offices to the Regional Task Force on Tuition and Other School Fees, the CHEDROs shall enclose the application with its recommendation to the Executive Director within 30 days upon resolution by the Task Force but in no case later than April 15 of the year the intended increase shall be implemented.

CMO 14 is the revised guidelines of the previous CHED Memo Order 13 series of 1998 underlining the procedures for schools intending to increase tuition. However, CMO 13 proved to be ineffective in tuition increase as private schools evaded the memorandum through institution of new fees and circumvention of the consultation process.

The National Union of Students of the Philippines, along with other youth and student organizations and student councils, organized protest actions and pressed upon reforms in the regulation of school fees. Hence, on 9 May 2005, CHED adopted CMO 14. However, the struggle for accessible education in the country remains as the new memo order, in fact, aggravated the school fee increases and leaves much to be desired by the Filipino people.

II. Inability of CMO 14 to regulate spiraling school fee increase

CHED responded to the exposé of the students that schools evaded the consultation process of CMO 13 by increasing other school fees or creating new ones, but not the tuition fee. Hence, CMO 14 covered “increase in tuition and other school fee charges, including new fee charges of Higher Education Institutions” as stated in Article 1, Section 1. Other school fees are defined in the memo as:

“Charges in addition to tuition that are collected for a specific purpose or service, as may be identified by the school authorities such as medical and dental, athletic, audio-visual, guidance, insurance, laboratory fee, laboratory deposit, library, student organization, internet, school publication, energy, developmental, related learning experience, study tours, miscellaneous, etc.” (Article 2, Section 6)

A. Pegging tuition and other school fee increases to the inflation rate

While laudable in its inclusion of other school fees, CMO 14, however, introduced the concept of pegging tuition and other fee increases to the prevailing national inflation rate (NIR). Erroneously, it propagated that “(t)he allowable increase in tuition and other fees should be not more than the prevailing national inflation rate. Increases in tuition and other fees over and above the national inflation rate shall be subject to consultation with stockholders and approval of the Commission on Higher Education.” (Article 3, Sec 8) Thus, false connotation of CMO 14 as a “tuition cap” proliferated.

CMO 14, in fact, is far from being a tuition cap. It implicitly defined the consultation with constituents as the regulatory mechanism for the schools proposing fee increase beyond the NIR. However, the consultation process itself sides with the school administration, as experienced in the past CMO. This will be discussed in further detail later.

CHED explicitly provided exemptions for consultations in Article 3, Sec 10, and they are as follows:

“Consultations shall not be required for the following:

a. The rate of increases in tuition and other school fees is less than or equal to the rate of the prevailing year’s national inflation rate as determined by the National Economic Development Program.

b. Tuition for incoming freshmen. However, any increase shall be based on prevailing national inflation rate.”

CHED employed a false sense of logic for using the prevailing inflation rate as an index to the rate of tuition and other fees. By allowing increases without student consultations, the CHED institutionalized annual increases in tuition, other fees and new fees as students are stricken off their role to confront these increases through student consultations. There must always be student consultations regardless of how small or big the rate of increases will be.

CHED, itself, took off its regulatory function in CMO 14 because of the consultation exemption based on the NIR. CHED Regional Offices (CHEDRO) would only need to check the documentary requirements (article 5, sec 13, except letter b) of schools proposing within the NIR. Hence, the schools shall only wait for ministerial confirmation of their fee proposals.

The basic point is that, at these times of increasing prices of consumer goods and utilities, an increase in school fees, even though within the inflation rate, is already an injustice to students and parents alike. Access to quality education, thus, becomes narrower to the Filipino people.

B. Ladderized tuition increase

The mechanism of increasing tuition only to incoming first year students is called ladderized tuition increase. This mechanism has been used by school owners to circumvent the CMO 13 before. Student leaders exposed this deceiving means as a way for schools to increase tuition without consultation with the sectors involved.

Thus, it was even more appalling when CMO 14 legitimized this mechanism and got away with the democratic process of consultations. Through the ladderized scheme, school owners belittled the social concern of students for they mistakenly see the students as customers with only personal interests to look over to.

Student councils and leaders argue that they are still an involved sector although they will not be directly affected by the tuition increase. Future students and youth are reduced of their opportunities to enter tertiary education because of increase in their tuition. Hence, again, access to education becomes narrower because of this scheme.

III. Faulty consultation process

As earlier discussed, the consultation process was implicitly connoted as the regulatory mechanism for school fee increases. However, upon analysis of CMO14 and actual experiences of consultations, the process generally, is a sham.

Article 3, Sec 11 stipulates the manner of the consultation process, and it includes participation of the student publication to cover the consultation (sec 11.6), posting of notices at conspicuous places at least 30 days before the actual consultation (sec 11.2), and accessibility of the latest audited financial statements and tuition utilization upon request of the authorized representatives of the sectors (sec 11.5).

However, participation of the students and other sectors are reduced. Sec 11.4 stated that:

“Consultation should be done with legitimate and authorized representatives from the recognized:

a.) supreme student councils/governments;
b.) faculty unions;
c.) non-teaching personnel associations and/or
d.) alumni associations.

Each sector will be allowed at most three representatives. In the absence of a student council/government in an HEI, the student organizations and societies recognized by the HEI shall select not more than three representative who will participate in the consultation.” (emphasis added)

Consultations with the students must not be limited to the student councils/governments. Open and public assemblies must be conducted by the school to ensure accountability and maximum participation of the students.

Opposition to school fee increase proposals has no place in the consultations. In fact, some say that consultations are just “sermons at the mount” or plain information dissemination. Expression of dissent is reduced to refusal to sign attendance sheets, as stipulated in Article 5, Sec 13:

a.) “Certificate of Conduct Consultation (CCC) duly notarized containing the following information:

1. tuition utilization
2. proposed increases in other fees and how the fees are to be used (Annex A).

The following will be attached: a) the minutes and b) attendance sheet signed by the concerned School Heads and the aforementioned authorized representatives to the consultation. If the authorized representatives refuse to sign, a notation shall be made in the said document which shall be submitted for notarization.” (emphasis added)

If the school administrators are to be true to the meaning of consultations, then, it must include counter-proposals, consent and dissent to their proposed school fee increase.

IV. Silencing grievances

A Regional Task Force on Tuition Fee and Other School Fees is composed through the CMO 14. It is composed of the following:

1. CHED Regional Director – Chairman
2. National Economic Development Authority – Vice Chairman
3. Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges (PASUC) – member
4. Coordinating Council for Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA) – member
5. Association of Christian Schools, Colleges and Universities (ACSCU) – member
6. Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) – member
7. Regional Faculty Union Representative – member
8. Regional Student Representative to be designated by the National Youth Commission (NYC) – member
9. National Anti-Poverty Commission – member

Sectoral representatives are clearly outnumbered by representatives of school owners and administrators, who are expected to protect their interests.

The Task Force, however, is just lip service for students because it is powerless and lacks authority. Its functions are thus stated (Article 7, Sec 17):

17.1 “The task force shall serve as recommendatory body for all complaints, disputes and disagreements on applications for increases in tuition and other school fee and for new fees implemented in HEIs under the CHEDRO’s jurisdiction.

17.2 Failure of the said Task Force to act within 30 days from receipt of the cases elevated to them shall result in the implementation of increase in tuition and other school fees as well as new fees.”

Firstly, the task force is just a recommendatory body. Its findings and reports are not binding and as such, can be vetoed or dismissed by the CHEDRO.

Secondly, CMO 14 heavily favors school owners under section 17.2. Delaying strategies may be used by schools in case of complaints since failure of the task force to act within 30 days will automatically render the fee proposal approved. This provision escapes logic and even puts into question the role and responsibility of CHED as a regulatory agency.

Thirdly, the inutility of the Task Force was aggravated by CHED when it amended CMO14 on 23 February 2006. Specifically, Article 7, Section 17 was amended to:

“The task force shall serve as a recommendatory body for all complaints, by the authorized participants or representatives to the consultation provided under Section 11.4 of this Order relating to the proceedings of the consultation in connection with the application for increases in tuition, other school fees and for new fees implemented by HEIs within the CHEDRO’s jurisdiction.” (emphasis added)

Again, CMO 14 restricted room for grievances and complaints. The task force shall only entertain complaints “by the authorized participants to the consultation”. This shall only mean that ordinary students, parents, faculty members, personnel) may not file complaints by themselves. We see this amendment as a way to limit participation of student federations and unions, like the NUSP from pursuing complaints and appeals. In the end, CHED favors the school administrators with this provision.

It must be noted that Task Force may only act on complaints elevated upon it by the CHEDRO. Article 6 Section 14.4 states that:

“In appropriate instances, (the CHEDRO may) elevate to the Regional Task Force on Tuition and Other School Fees the unresolved cases on tuition and other school fee increase, and new fee disputes.”

Hence, the CHEDRO has the prerogative which cases it may elevate to the Task Force for consideration. It may, in fact, happen that no case may be forwarded to the task force and the CHEDRO will handle all complaints by itself, thus rendering the task force useless.

V. Summary and recommendations

246 private HEIs from all over the country increased tuition in 2005. That number doubled to 458 PHEIs increasing their tuition, as of 5 May 2006. CHED argues that CMO 14 decreased the amount of increase because of the inflation rate rule. Yet, this is yet to be seen in actual national statistics. Moreover, with the enormous number of schools proposing tuition hike, CMO 14 was thus proven ineffective in regulation of tuition.

Student protests are on the way in action to stop the tsunami of tuition hike. School fee hikes this coming 2006-2007 academic year are coupled with weekly oil price hikes, increasing prices of consumer goods because of higher prices of transportation, natural calamities, and additional tax in the form of expanded value-added tax. Thus, parents will find it hard again to put their children to school this coming June.

In anticipation to student protest actions, CHED instructed state universities and colleges (SUCs) in a memorandum not to increase tuition and other fees this coming school year. President Arroyo, through CHED, appealed to private schools to forego their plans of tuition hikes this year. The appeal went that CHED will only allow increase within the inflation rate. To this, the government was further exposed of its lack of teeth against tuition hikes. It can only go as far appeals, which lack concrete action.

NUSP provides some recommendations to answer the perennial problem of increasing costs of education:

1. On the immediate, stop tuition increases for the next few years. High tuition has caused dwindling of enrollment in private schools while increasing population density in SUCs. SUCs on the other hand, receive less support from the national government, hence forcing them to increase fees all the same. Access to education has thus been reduced.

2. Create a genuine policy of school fee regulation – a policy that sides not the school owners. In particular, it must state that consultations are truly consultative, and it must take the consent of the sectors involved. Student participation must be recognized and need not be repressed.

3. A more active and representative kind of Regional Task Force must be created with functions that are not limited to hearing of complaints. The task force should be given the authority to look into tuition use and other school fee increases.

4. Regulation must not be limited to the “how much”, but must include the “which” and “why” aspect in school fee increases. We note that schools introduce many kinds of fees that range from the redundant to the absurd, like development fee, smart fee, copier fee, athletic fee, sports fee, UAAP fee, aircon fee, energy fee, electricity fee, etc.

On the whole, the commercialized system of education needs to be reviewed by the government. Privatization and corporatization of SUCs must be stopped. In fact, the public school system needs more support logistically and financially to drive national education objectives of development.

CHED and the national government need to listen to the youth and students that have, for the longest time, pressed for reforms in the education system. The legislature shall play an important role in this movement for education reforms. Hence, it must focus its attention to find answer to this perennial problem.

The NUSP shall always be at the forefront in the realization of these objectives for the students. Youth and student organizations must be active in pushing for changes and the advancement of the basic right to education. ###
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