AROUND 12 private schools in Northern Mindanao gained the nod of the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) to increase their tuition and other school fees for the academic year 2017 to 2018.

The schools include: Cagayan de Oro College, Capitol University, Christ the King College de Maranding, La Salle University, Liceo de Cagayan University, Lourdes College, San Agustin Institute of Technology, St. Michael's College, St. Rita's College of Balingasag, Stella Maris College, STI Colleges of Mindanao, and Xavier University.

The average increase in the region is 5.04 percent with Liceo de Cagayan University topping the list with 7.7 percent followed by St. Rita’s College of Balingasag with 7 percent.

In its website, Ched said that the deciding factors for its approval of the schools application are first, the Section 42 of the Education Act of 1982, which provides that, “each private school shall determine its rate of tuition and other school fees or charges… subject to rules and regulations promulgated by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports.”

Second, the Republic Act 6728 or the “Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education Act,” which requires higher education institutions (HEIs), for every incremental tuition increase, to allocate for payment of salaries, modernization of school equipment, among others.

Third, Ched memorandum order 3, takes into account the following factors: regional inflation rate, financial standing of the institution, financial capacity of the general studentry, among others, and fourth, the “education deflator,” which measures the average cost of providing education services based on the regional inflation rate.

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan spokesperson Wildon Barros slams Ched for seemingly allowing commercialized education.

Barros said the increase defeats the government's promises and campaign that education is a right and should be free for all.

“It's frustrating, especially for those poor students who have the potential to succeed, but cannot go on with their studies because they cannot afford, because education is getting more and more expensive,” he said.

In a previous statement, Kristine Cabardo of League of Filipino-Northern Mindanao said commercialization of education in the region is undeniably alarming, with private schools still persistent on collecting dubious, exorbitant and redundant school fees.

Cabardo said the unnecessary development and internet fee is still collected in Xavier University, Bukidnon State University (BSU), Mindanao State University (MSU)–Iligan Institute of Technology, MSU–Naawan, Central Mindanao University, Mindanao University of Science and Technology, Lourdes College, Cagayan de Oro College, and several other public and private schools.

An average of 5 to 5 percent or P26.93 increase in tuition has been continuously proposed by private schools like Xavier University, Lourdes College, St. Michael’s College, and Liceo de Cagayan University.

“We can’t see a single strand of sincerity from the state to resolve the problem of the country’s educational crisis. Rather, it has continuously digging up our graveyard to these high-rocketing fees, which overwhelmingly make education inaccessible to the Filipino youth,” she added.