The month of February is the peak season of Tuition and Other Fee Increases (TOFI) proposals and consultation among all tertiary schools in the country. As another academic year approaches its end, the school administrators are busy again in mulling over the opportunity to increase tuition and other miscellaneous fees in school for the next school year.
During the first quarter of the year, it is expected that school administrators will come out with TOFI proposals which they plan to implement in the next school year. More importantly, it is an imperative that the school administrators also conduct consultations among the students regarding their TOFI proposals. Since they comprise the largest bulk of the school’s population, the students should be well-informed and must be allowed to react freely regarding the proposals to increase school fees. Moreover, they are the ones who will primarily be affected by the proposals. This makes the need for them to have access of this information and to voice out their opinions regarding such information more pointed.
For their part, the students must be actively participative of such consultations. This will make it even more urgent for the school administrators to conduct consultations and justify the TOFI proposals which they have prepared.
The College Editor’s Guild of the Philippines, as an organization that is composed of and serves the interest of students, is calling for an absolute No Tuition and Other Fee Increase for the next academic year. In line with this, it calls for the hastening of the passing of the Tuition Moratorium Bill which will prevent all tertiary school from increasing their tuition and other miscellaneous fees for a minimum period of five years. Also tagged as “Tuition Freezing,” the Tuition Moratorium Bill will ensure that tertiary schools will not primarily rely on fees collected from students in bolstering the funds the schools need for operation. Instead, these schools shall demand from the state to provide them with the just amount of subsidy. This will enable them to continue operating without sacrificing the quality of education which they can offer their students.
In relation to this, we are also calling on the state to rechannel the funds allocated for the military to the budget for education. If they are justifying the TOFIs by saying that school employees also need a raise in their incomes to ensure their efficiency in giving education, we are forwarding that this raise in salary should come from government funds and not from student fees. We are standing still in the unheeded call we have made in the past: that the 2011 approved budget is backward and anti-people because it misprioritizes the funds that can be used for the development of the citizens. Instead of giving premium to the basic social services like education, health and housing, the 2011 budget approved by President Benigno Aquino allots a larger bulk to debt and military expenses. However, we are also firm in our stand that the approval of this budget does not mean that its glitches can no longer be corrected and addressed. Rechanneling the military funds to the budget for education can be of big help in patching up, even slightly, the loopholes of this year’s budget.
In that case, the administrators of tertiary schools all over the country will have lesser motivation in increasing the tuition and other fees that will only burden the students. School administrators should be pressuring the state by demanding greater subsidy frrm there – which is in essence, its responsibility to public institutions, and not torment the students and parents by imposing TOFIs. By carefully analyzing the top priorities in terms of national spending, we will find out that TOFIs are no longer necessary as long as the budget the education sector receives yearly is commensurate to its needs. Sadly, by looking closely at the 2011 approved budget, we can say that this is not true. Obviously, our government sees greater importance in bullets and firearms than in books and school classrooms. In this season of TOFI proposals, our school administrators should rethink the necessary steps they must take if their goal is to provide quality and affordable education to the Filipinos. Demanding for higher state subsidy and not TOFIs will save the state of education in the country.
No to Tuition and Other Fees Increase!
Rechannel Military Funds to Budget for Education!
Pass Tuition Moratorium Bill now!
College Editor’s Guild of the Philippines Baguio-Benguet