Sabado, Setyembre 14, 2013
On 31 years of existence of the sole education act- Batas Pambansa 232 more known as Education Act 1982 since its passage during the Marcos era, the state unceasingly neglects its responsibility to its youth for their right to accessible and quality education.The enactment of the said law further aggravates the whole education system. It serves as passes for any private learning institutions in any level to determine their own tuition rates and other school fees or charges without being strictly regulated and monitored. While on the other hand, state-run learning institutions are force to go into some income generating projects and partnership with private sector to become self-sustaining institutions, utmost giving the burden to its students through tuitions and other miscellaneous fees.Roadmap for Further CommercializationMarcos Education Act of 1982 paved the way to other succeeding administration to push through their “anti-students and anti-people” education platforms.
The Roadmap for Higher Education Reform (RPHER), the Aquino administration program for tertiary education, is just a copycat of Long-term Higher Education Development Plan (LTHEDP) implemented by President Fidel V. Ramos on 1996 which then gave birth to Higher Education Modernization Act (HEMA) in where state universities and colleges (SUCs) were pushed to get into partnership with private sectors and more income generating projects to become cost-efficient and globally competitive. In 2001, LTHEDP was revived by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo obliging each SUCs to be self-sustaining through slashing its budget every year.According to CHED, RPHER intends to pursue include the merging of SUCs, rationalization and closure of “redundant” course offerings, and maximize income generation until 2016 in response to three fundamental weaknesses of Philippine higher education, which includes the “lack of overall vision,” “deteriorating quality,” and “limited access.”But just like its predecessors, Aquino’s RPHER just reiterates the previous public higher education program in continuing the state neglect in making education inaccessible for all. Transforming all public learning institutions to income generating institutions, making the basic right into commodity in where only the few can afford to and producing non-thinking work force in support to global demand for cheap labor.Here in the region, about 83 higher education institutions (HEIs) were operating since 2010, 64 of it are privately owned while there are only 19 universities and colleges govern by the state including run by the local government.
Tuitions and others fees in state universities and college average to Php6, 000.00-15,000.00 per semester. In fact, Mindanao University Science and Technology (MUST), given that it’s a “state university,” their tuition fee is more or less P325.00 per unit making the total expenses reach up to P11, 000.00-15,000.00 per semester. Obviously, this rate is close enough to the rates of the private schools. Given that it is a state university that should give chance to the less fortunate to avail quality and accessible education.
More Funds for Pork, Less for Education
While budget for education continues to dwindle, Aquino government prioritizes more the debt service, military expending, and pork barrel funds which had been used for corruption and bribery by most of the politicians.With the House Bill 2640 or the 2014 General Appropriation Bill (GAB) it still contains the P25.24-billion allocation for Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), along with the Lump-sum funds in the national budget, including the Special Purpose Funds (SPFs) worth P310 billion, unprogrammed Funds worth P139 billion and Automatic Appropriations worth P796 billion; questionable in-budget line items including funds for intelligence and confidential expenses worth P1.4 billion, PAMANA funds worth P7.22 billion, Conditional Cash Transfer Funds worth P62.6 billion, and funding for Bottom-Up Budgeting worth P20 billion, this will summed-up to more than P1 trillion presidential pork barrel. While there are some P56 billion to P113 billion worth included funds from realigned savings and hidden funds.While trillions worth of funds are being allocated to pork barrel, it only gives P34.7 billion for SUCs. Though it have increased nominally by 1.9 billion from the current P32.8 billion, still, 79 SUCs out of 110 will suffer next year due to hefty cuts based on the 2014 NEP including MSU-Iligan Institute of Technology here in the region. This is due to lower personnel service components, others due to lower allotment for maintenance and other operating expenses, and many due to zero capital outlay.More than P116 million will be slashed to MSU-IIT for its budget next year putting it at rank 3 with the biggest cuts in 2014 for SUCs. While in Mindanao State University in Marawi City, where majority of the youth here in the region or even in the entire island choose to enroll due to its cheapest tuition rate will suffer with its more than P829 million budget cut making it to top 2.Meanwhile, top performing state universities and colleges in the region such as Mindanao University of Science and Technology will most likely have their allocation from the state at 50% of their proposed budget. This is part of the implementation of RPHER aiming to have 50% of budget requirement of each SUCs coming from IGPs.
The education crisis that prevails for how many decades manifests what kind of government we have now. A government that despite the outrage of the Filipino people against pork barrel and rampant corruption by government officials, still their up to clinging the funds for pork than re-channeling it directly to social services such as education. A government that only gives band-aid solutions for a rotten, cancer-ridden educational system. Education Act of 1985 with its RPHER under Noynoy is a deceptive device of the state in order to mislead the Filipino youth to the real solutions which hampers their interests specially the capitalist-educators. The Filipino youth together with other sectors will tirelessly continue its quest for an accessible and nationalist education.A massive campaign for the stoppage of continuing budget cuts to education and call for budget increase to all SUCs in the region and entire nation will be initiated to be led by Kabataan Partylist. Calling all students and academes to get involve and take a decisive stand in upholding our basic right for a free, accessible and quality education.
NO TO BUDGET CUT,
FIGHT FOR GREATER STATE SUBSIDY TO EDUCATION & OTHER SOCIAL SERVICES!
ABOLISH PORK BARREL NOW!
RE-CHANNEL PORK BARREL FUNDS TO EDUCATION & OTHER SOCIAL SERVICES!
GLADYS LEAH C. VALLE
Regional CoordinatorKabataan Partylist Northern Mindanao Region
College of the Editor’s Guild NMR