FEF, economists, gov’t scored for opposing free public education
A student group on Wednesday slammed the Foundation for Economic Freedom (FEF), the Commission on Higher Education, the Duterte government and a group of economists for opposing free public education in all levels.
“The FEF, the Commission on Higher Education, and several members of the Duterte regime clearly do not understand the struggle of the youth today. They have clearly unveiled that the free tuition policy of the government is far from the demands of the youth for free public education in all levels,” the League of Filipino Students (LFS) spokesperson JP Rosos said in a statement.
On Tuesday, a group of economists and FEF strongly opposed proposals to mandate state universities and colleges (SUCs) to offer tuition-free education, arguing that while “well-intended,” such a policy would be “anti-poor.” FEF said the proposal to increase funding for free tuition in SUCs would benefit higher income students and provide unfair competition to private institutions which are more efficient in providing higher education.
Rosos called the pronouncements “unbelievably disgusting,” and noted that these economists have poor understanding why the tertiary education failed to cater to the poor.
He said that although the administration is correct in the observation that only a handful of the youth, especially the poorest, are able to go to college, they failed to cite the reason for such.
“They ignored the fact that students weren’t able to go to school because of the sky-rocketing tuition and other school fees as a result of the continuing implementation of neoliberal policies,” Rosos said.
The group also slammed the recently-concluded technical working group in Congress for the free tuition policy, saying that the discussion for the implementing rules and regulation is grounded on the continued collection of tuition and other school fees from the students.
“As the discussions in the legislation starts, it is clear that the free tuition policy they want to implement is based on neoliberal policies on education—the same policies that take away our right to free public education in all levels,” Rosos said.
The group pointed out that the free public education can never be realized while “neoliberal policies” like the Education Act of 1982, Higher Education Modernization Act and K to 12 program are being implemented.
“If we want a genuinely free public education in all levels—an education that is free from tuition and other school fees, then we should abrogate the neoliberal policies on education. This is a decade-old demand that will only be realized with our collective struggle,” Rosos said.
“Education is a right. Free education in all levels for every Filipino people is a state responsibility. This is our demand and we are willing to fight tooth and nail for this right,” he added. RAM