Free Tuition for All Now!

December last year, the Duterte administration approved the allocation of 8.3 billion pesos supposedly to make tuition free in all State Universities and Colleges (SUC). This was welcomed as a progressive move on the President’s side.

But when 2017 came, it was clear that the government, particularly the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) together with the Department of Budget and Management, did not see education as a right and crafted an Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) that would impose a de facto Socialized Tuition (ST) System across the nation even though there are enough funds to provide tuition free for all SUC students according to an Agham Youth study, which was published in Scientia’s second issue last semester. The same study had also refuted common claims against free tuition and free education.

Yesterday, Chancellor Michael Tan has announced that there will be no collection of tuition and miscellaneous fees for the upcoming Academic Year 2017–2018. In addition, the Presidential Advisory Council, the council of UP Chancellors, officially endorsed the No Tuition Collection Policy to the UP President to be implemented in the entire UP System.

The Chancellor maintained however that there will be no collection of fees “until the government is clear about their plan.” Despite the Chancellor’s disclaimer, it has now been made clear by this point that collection of tuition is suspended at least for the next semester. An announcement posted in the CRS confirms the suspension.

Although the pronouncements of the UP administration remain conservative and may leave students wondering whether tuition will be collected at a later date after registration, this is a positive development and must be recognized as a success for the fight for Free Education.

This is proof that our united actions are working. Without the collective movement of the students, the anti-student policies of the IRR would lay unexposed, and the government and school administrations, not pressured at all to provide free tuition. The mobilizations of the youth spoke loud enough against the backward convictions of concerned institutions.

We, as the student publication of the College of Science, vow that we will take an active part in our fight for free education through making our student paper a medium of student sentiments and critical analysis. We will remain committed to uphold the interests of the students and the people.

For the following semester, we must remain vigilant and continue asserting our right to free and quality education.

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