June15th, Philippines: Youths, students kickoff opening of classes with protest rally against education crisis

Youths, students kickoff opening of classes with protest rally against education crisis; demand emergency fund for education ASAP


Hundreds of youths and students led by the Kabataan Partylist, National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), League of Filipino Students (LFS), College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), Anakbayan, Student Christian Movement of the Philippines (SCMP) and Kabataang Artista para sa Tunay na Kalayan (KARATULA) today kicked off the opening of classes with a protest rally in Mendiola demanding an end to the woes of the education sector.


The youth groups rebuked the “worsening crisis of education” compounded by the nine (9) years of “carious rule under the Arroyo regime.” They also demanded president-elect Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to fulfill his promise to youth and urgently release an emergency fund for education.


Education crisis gone worse

According to Einstein Recedes, NUSP national president, "In the past nine years, the education crisis has only worsened because of the systematic neglect of the Arroyo regime to the basic needs of the youth and the people. With policies such as the Long Term Higher Education Development Plan (LTHEDP) and CHED Memorandum 13, to name but two, the Arroyo government has continued and compounded the education crisis that was engendered by the long-standing policies of past regimes".


“For instance, the Education of Act of 1982, which is very much in effect up to this day, has legalized the all-out commercialization of education by freely allowing private school owners to yearly increase tuition and other fees. The Arroyo regime has done nothing to curb that. In fact, it parasitized on that unjust education policy to give the youth and the people an education system in a much terrifying form,” Recedes added.


Recedes explained that the tragic issues of the education sector must be seen as rooted in the “rotten” education system that “frames the operation of schools and other learning institutions.”


Based on the data gathered by the NUSP and Kabataan Partylist, the national average of tuition increase in the tertiary level from 2001 up to 2010 is 94.72% (P501.22). In the National Capital Region, the average tuition from 2001 up to 2010 has ballooned to 123.06% (P980.54)


Recedes added, based on the data National Statistics Coordination Board (NSCB), that the college drop-out rate from 1994 up to 2004 is 83.34%. He said that given the current state of Philippine education, it is not surprising if the college drop-out rate in 2010 has gone higher.


Ending the crisis, demands for Noynoy

Terry Ridon, LFS chairperson, for his part said that “there is no question that the education crisis must be ended. Definitely, the existing unjust education policies must be steadfastly reversed. The challenge for president-elect Aquino, therefore, is to fulfill his hopeful promise to the youth by inverting the 9 years of atrocious education sector record of the Arroyo government.”


Ridon added that “President-elect Aquino has no excuse to not do promise to the youth. Giving him a honeymoon period is inadmissible given the urgent demands of the youth and the people”


With regard to the numerous woes of the education sector, Ridon said that the youth and students urgently demand Aquino to “immediately release an emergency fund to education.”


“Room and textbook shortages, lack of teachers, derelict facilities, high drop-out rate, crazy-high tuition and other fees… these are some of the current mess faced by the education sector that an emergency fund will promptly alleviate” Ridon said.


“As a matter of historical truth, the role of the youth in creating fundamental changes cannot be underestimated. The youth, together with the people, must collectively assert for their rights. We cannot and will not wait for president-elect Aquino to address the urgent demands of the youth in his own comfortable time. He must start addressing them now,” he said.