MILITANT student groups on Friday stormed the offices of Commission on Higher Education (CHED) nationwide to call for justice for the death of a Cagayan State University (CSU) student who took her own life because she was unable to pay for school fees.
The groups composed of Anakbayan, League of Filipino Students, National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), and Rise for Education Alliance blamed CHED and the “heartless” Aquino government for the rising tuition rates and the collection of expensive school fees.
They said the implementation of a “tuition deregulation” scheme under Aquino has allowed school fees to increase incessantly. They said the regime of high tuition fees is the culprit behind the death of CSU student Rosanna Sanfuego, who took her own life last February 27 for allegedly failing to take her midterm examinations due to financial problems.
“Aquino and CHED officials should resign now. Their anti-student, pro-tuition hike schemes have caused students and parents so much suffering and pain. They should be held liable for pushing students to desperation and death,” Vencer Crisostomo, national chairperson of Anakbayan, said.
Crisostomo demanded that CHED immediately junk all tuition and other school fee increases set this year. He also demanded that collection of all other school fees be prohibited.
According to the NUSP, more than 400 schools are set to increase tuition again this year. Campus consultations, which the groups assailed to be bogus and deceptive, have been done last February 27.
He said many student leaders were reported to have been “terrorized” and “harassed” as they were “forced” to attend the school consultations.
“Students were being made to forcibly attend the tuition consultations despite their opposition and protest. They were terrorized by campus officials, threatened and were held against their will, made to sign attendance sheets just so the schools can comply with the requirement of ‘consultation’ for CHED. Leaders are being threatened expulsion,” Crisostomo said, citing several reports from University of the East, National Teachers College, University of Santo Tomas, etc.