slots, fees collection hound first year of free education
June 13, 2018
QUEZON CITY – The
National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), a nationwide
alliance of student councils, condemns the Duterte administration’s
maneuvers to limit the beneficiaries of free higher education.
Limited slots, facilities
in public schools
“Not all Filipino youth
will benefit from free education because government policy pushes
state universities and colleges (SUCs) to limit the slots available
for enrollees. Worse, the Duterte administration does not intend to
improve campus facilities so that more students can be
accommodated,” said NUSP National Spokesperson Mark VIncent Lim.
In Bulacan State
University, the country’s third largest SUC, only 10,000 out of the
22,000 students who took the entrance exam will be accepted.
Students and their parents have trooped into student council offices
to seek for help regarding admission.
Last June 4, Cagayan State
University (CSU) released the result of its college admission test
held simultaneously in different campuses, and only about 4,750 out
of 10,523 takers will be admitted by the school. Students took to
the internet their grievances against the low passing rate in the
An official of CSU said
that the “tough” entrance exam is required by law. “The government’s
reluctance to provide free education has led school administrators
to impose stricter admission rules and reduce the number of
beneficiaries of free education. Instead of pitting students against
each other over the limited number of slots, the government must
ensure access to free education by as many students as possible,”
Tuition, fees collection
continue in several LUCs
NUSP also criticizes
continued collection of fees amid the free education law. According
to Lim, the collection of tuition and other school fees (OSF) from
students of local universities and colleges (LUCs) persist as only
78 of the 107 LUCs nationwide are providing free higher education
for A.Y. 2018-2019. “Many students still have to suffer from paying
exorbitant and dubious fees amidst the clamor of the youth that the
government immediately provide free education for all,” said Lim.
In Metro Manila, students
enrolled in only two (2) LUCs – Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM)
and Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Muntinlupa (PLMun) – out of 16 in the
region will be granted free education. This means that thousands of
students in LUCs still have to pay OSF this academic year. In the
case of Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Marikina (PLMar), students who live
outside Marikina City are charged P17,000 upon enrollment.
Return Service System
Students who benefit from
free higher education are required to undergo a Return Service
System (RSS) wherein they are required to render pro bono service to
the university through student assistantship or socio-civic
"Free higher education is
a right and a state obligation. It should be provided without
preconditions. The government cannot understand that education must
already be free and must not be paid anymore. The RSS serves as
payment for the ‘free education’ that students are supposed to enjoy
by this time,” said Lim.
“As an income-generating
scheme, RSS is compulsory such that students who will opt out of the
RSS will be forced to pay full tuition and OSF. As a cost-cutting
measure, RSS will give universities additional workforce from
students who will render unpaid, forced labor. In several schools,
free education beneficiaries must serve as student assistants in
offices or libraries,” added Lim.
Rise for education
“Apparently, the fight for
free education for all continues. We call on the Duterte
administration to backpedal on neoliberal policies on education that
have kept millions of Filipinos out of school, and to fulfill its
constitutional obligation to ensure that quality education is
accessible at all levels,” said Lim.
“On June 19, education
advocates – students, parents, teachers, administrators,
personalities, and public officials – will gather at the Rise for
Education National Summit in UP Diliman to discuss the updates and
prospects of our education campaign and to forge our plan of
actions,” he ended.