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Manila: State universities, colleges freeze tuition

Philippines Universities

State universities and colleges (SUCs) are not increasing tuition and other fees this school year.

In Resolution 2001-2013 published in The STAR, the advisory council of the Philippine Association of State Universities and Colleges (PASUC) approved the moratorium on undergraduate tuition and miscellaneous fee increases for the coming school year.

“The PASUC sympathizes with the economic plight of a great number of college students and their parents, and supports the moratorium on tuition fee increases for SY 2013-2014, as advised by CHED (Commission on Higher Education) chairperson (Patricia) Licuanan,” the resolution read.

PASUC officials led by its president Ricardo Rotoras signed the resolution last April 5.

Over 450 higher education institutions in the country have filed petitions for increase in tuition and other fees, of which 95 are from the National Capital Region.

The CHED said it is “still scrutinizing every bit of the applications.”

CHED executive director Julito Vitriolo said they would finalize the list of schools whose petitions for tuition increase were granted by the second week of May.

Licuanan earlier recommended a moratorium on tuition hikes at SUCs, following the suicide of University of the Philippines-Manila student Kristel Tejada.

The 16-year-old Behavioral Science student committed suicide last March 15 for allegedly failing to pay her tuition.

On May 2012, at least 110 SUCs signed a covenant with President Aquino on the Roadmap of Public Higher Education Reform 2011-2016, among the objectives of which is to expand access to quality higher education among lower income and disadvantaged groups.

Welcome move

Team PNoy senatorial candidate and Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara welcomed the move of SUCs to defer tuition hikes, noting that SUCs are mandated to make tuition affordable, especially for poor students.

“This is not the time and circumstance to raise tuition fees with the tragic death of a UP Manila student who killed herself after her failure to pay tuition still tugging the conscience of the nation,” Angara said.

Angara said the SUCs are now the tertiary schools of choice of many college-bound graduates from the provinces, “thus, their doors should be opened to the poor but deserving ones.”

He also noted that SUCs are getting regular allocation in the national budget apart from the tuition they charge.

He urged the SUCs and private universities to offer distance and online learning programs for older students or those who wish to achieve advanced degrees while continuing their careers.

Online learning can be smoother and more cost-effective, he said, and may offer technical training to advanced degrees in commerce, finance and even law.

He said that e-learning, now the modern trend for open and distance learning education worldwide, will help students meet the challenging needs required for capacity building in the modern era.

“We have to extend quality education to all Filipinos irrespective of age, sex, religion, culture and social standing,” Angara said. “Educators and practitioners now see virtual or online learning as the most viable means for broadening educational access.”

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