Students storm Ched, denounce high tuition

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A STUDENT group on Tuesday stormed the central office of the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) in Quezon City to reiterate its call for the agency to stop any increase in tuition and other school fees on the last day of hearings on proposals to increase tuition.

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“It is both enraging and disappointing how CHEd, university administrations and this government have pushed students against the wall. They bully the students, saying that if students do not agree with school policies and regulations, even if these are anti-student and undemocratic, and if students find tuition too high, then we can opt to get out of these universities and find other schools. This is the height of insensitivity and the height of profit-driven education,” Sarah Elago, national president of the National Union of the Students of the Philippines (NUSP), said in a statement.

“Like bullies, they have asked us to ‘just follow rules’ and ‘not to complain’ and ‘to prioritize studying’ instead of talking and fighting for our democratic rights,” Robert Ryan Gatbonton, president of the De La Salle Araneta University-Supreme Student Government, added.

Earlier, the student group and its affiliate university and college student councils filed cases and petitions with the regional offices of the CHEd to protest their school administrations’ non-compliance with the regulatory memorandum of CHEd on any school fee increase (CHEd Memorandum Order 3, series of 2012).

Students from De La Salle Araneta University, National University, Far Eastern University, University of the East—Manila and Caloocan and San Beda College, among others, filed in February complaints against their schools’ “autocratic, undemocratic and anti-student maneuverings to impose tuition increases in the guise of bogus consultations,” Elago said.

According to the NUSP, proposed tuition hikes ranged from 3.5 percent to 200 percent.

“With the rising cost of commodity goods and services, the wanton joblessness in the country, and the lack of adequate public funding for services from the government, students and their families are taken as milking cows for the profiteering of schools and the government,” she added.

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