Kristel’s death a smack to our education system-A A +A
Friday, March 22, 2013
ANOTHER life was offered in the altar of struggle against our commercialized, colonial, and repressive educational system.
Kristel Tejada, a first year behavioral science student of UP Manila took her own life last week, two days after she filed a leave because she could not pay her tuition for the second semester as her family had scrambled to pay off the loan she had taken out for her first-semester tuition. She was denied of her request for a new loan to cover the second semester because of the UP’s “no late payment” policy.
UP administration’s apologists and some quarters argued that there are many factors that led to Kristel’s death than blame the UP system alone. Some of them even insulted that the UP system did not encourage Kristel to commit suicide, and added that in fact there are countless economically hard up students who don’t commit suicide for failing to continue their studies.
There could be many factors to Kristel’s death, but it does not and should not exonerate the bigger role of UP policy that burden her and eventually led her to cut short her life.
It’s true that there are more students and youth who prefer to keep their pains and agony in silence, who doesn’t want to confront the system, and instead bear the sufferings caused by poverty and state neglect. I understand them. The UP system, the entire education system, do not care whether our students get to school or not, where to get their school fees, and whether they die of hunger or not.
But who is now the more courageous—the ones who sink to their apathy or the ones who refuse to accept the system, and even sacrifice their lives so many would stand up against the system?
Kristel’s case is not an uncommon story among our millions of youth and students asserting their right to formal education as the US-puppet Aquino regime rampages to abandon its state responsibility for the education of Filipino youth.
The UP policies are not only to blame for Kristel’s death, because the “no late payment policy” and Socialized Tuition and Financial Assistance Program (STFAP) are consequential schemes of the over-arching neoliberal framework on our education and basic social services.
The Aquino regime is clearly behind the shadow of the state and private capitalist educators and administrators trying to suck the blood of the already poor parents of most of our students.
Under the framework of neoliberalization, the Road Map to Public Higher Education Reform (RPHER) is pushing for the implementation of a socialized tuition scheme similar and patterned after UP’s STFAP. Intensified commercialization and privatization is underway for the education sector under Aquino regime.
At present, most state owned and controlled public utilities are on the way to privatization. The public transportation such as the MRT has recently been opened for private bidders. Notwithstanding, already-privatized services such as energy and water resources are stifling consumers for another wave of price hikes in the coming months.
If we are to stand up for what Kristel died for, all of us especially our youth and students should be resolved to challenge the neoliberal policies of the Aquino regime that endanger not only our right to education, but gravely threatens our right to live and right to live humanely.
I am a bit unfortunate that all my kids have finished their formal education but not without our hardships. But I am angered by the state’s gross neglect of the right to education of majority of our poor youth and students.
I refuse to shed tears. I want to rage.