THE National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) contested the claims made by President Benigno Aquino 3rd in his last State of the Nation Address (SONA), branding it “a SONA of lies.”
“The figures cannot be denied by the magician and crook by the name of Benigno: we have an annual college dropout of 2.3 million and an annual out of school children and youth of 15 million,” Sarah Jane Elago, the NUSP national president, said.
The group said that while the Aquino administration claims that it has increased the enrolment by 1.7 million, thereby supposedly reducing the number of out of school children in 2013 to 1.2 million, majority of public school children are in dire conditions. It cited problems in the education sector such as dilapidated classrooms and dearth of textbooks and public school teachers.
“Aquino also cannot deny the fact that deregulation via the Education Act of 1982 has murdered Philippine education. Tuition and other school fees increases have hounded the whole of the education sector. That is why the said act should be repealed! As a matter of fact, in the basic and secondary levels, more than 1,200 applications for tuition fee increase this academic year 2015-2016 were approved by the Department of Education. In the tertiary level, more than 300 applications for tuition and other school fee increases were approved by the Commission on Higher Education,” Elago said.
The NUSP said it Tuition Monitor Network showed that the cost of basic and secondary education ranges from P80,000 to P120,000 annually, while the cost of tertiary education ranges from P60,000 to P80,000 per semester. College education per year normally means two semesters but a number of schools are trimestral and quarterly, meaning the P60,000 to P80,000 range would be multiplied by three or four semesters. Other school fees alone average a whopping P20,000 per semester.
“We will never forget that Aquino killed students and youth because of the perennial tuition and other school fees increases, on top of the already destitute conditions of their families. We will never forget that Aquino murdered Kristel Tejada, Rosanna Sanfuego, and Jhomary Azaula, all students of state universities and colleges,” Elago stressed.