Higher education, higher price

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By Nef Luczon

Pencalibur

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


YESTERDAY, the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) in Region 10 (Northern Mindanao) held a press conference in line with their upcoming celebration of its 20th anniversary. As everyone has been anticipating, discussing about the increase of tuition fees on tertiary schools is one of the most passionately explained by Ched officials among other topics.

For this year, there are 18 “Higher Education Institutions” in the region that applied for the increase of tuition, of which Ched approved on the basis of the institution’s compliance with Ched’s Circular Memorandum Order No. 03, series 2012.

Ched Regional Director Dr. Zenaida Gersana explained that these tertiary schools were closely monitored and evaluated before they were given approval, such as that it is justifiable.

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On one point, it is a “good thing” while the schools are surging up their matriculation fees, there is the scholarship grant prioritizing those who can’t afford much to go to college due to financial circumstances.

Ched-10 alone already has 31,000 applications, according to the agency; however there are only 16,000 that will be catered for the region. The rest might look for another scholarship schemes from other organizations and agencies.

Earning a degree from college is something we Filipinos hold dear and matters on education is as important as determining one’s future and even the survival of the family’s social and economic status.

But the overall economic contraptions we are facing make the college degree dream to the youths of today a bit evasive. Tuition fee increases are almost inevitable and those students with families living only on meager incomes are constantly struggling to eke out every blood and sweat just to finish school.

That is why once a student graduates, it is a triumph to the parents as well, and we keep on hearing success stories of rugs to riches due to hardships they have been through.

Beyond all these, the question remains: whatever happened to education as a basic human right and it is free?

It is free when you are a scholar, but what about those whose intelligence did not meet the academic standard? What about those who have no “connections?”

It is a basic human right, indeed it is, but once enrolled in college, students must understand that it is also their responsibility to learn and pass every obstacle, and impart their realizations to others so that they will be vigilant that this right to education must be upheld and respected.

Gersana said that the reason for tuition fee increase did not only aim for the improvement of salary but also for the “Faculty Development Programs,” which they require from every tertiary school.

Nationwide, there are 353 private higher educational institutions applied for tuition fee increase this year and pending approval by Ched, according to the progressive group, Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT).

ACT secretary general France Castro said that the increase is “unjustified and is too much for the parents to bear with.” “With the skyrocketing prices of basic commodities and services in the country, increasing the cost of education will just make it more difficult for us to make both ends meet,” she added.

[Email: nefluczon@gmail.com | nefoi.blogspot.com]

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on May 21, 2014.

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