Ateneans slam another hike in tuition and energy fee

Feb. 20, 2012

Press Release

13 February 2012

Ateneans slam another hike in tuition and energy fee

Students from the Ateneo de Davao University staged a candle-lighting protest against the proposed six-percent hike in tuition and energy fee next school year. They argued, education is a right and not a commodity.

Maureene Ann Villamor, Buklurang Atenista (BuklAt) Coalition standard bearer and student council president-elect, called for a genuine and democratic consultation of the students on the proposed increase. She scored the multi-sectoral consultation initiated by the Ateneo administration last January 25.

“It was not a consultation. It was more of a presentation of their proposed increase. Less than 10 students were there,” Villamor lamented.

Villamor said what the students want is a public consultation that may be initiated by either the current student council or the administration since majority of the university’s 7 to 8 thousand students have not yet been informed nor consulted. “What we understand about consultation is that it is a tool in decision making that aims to get the consensus of the parties involved. There is no consensus in less than 10 students,” Villamor pointed out.

Educational institutions like Ateneo are mandated to follow the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) Memorandum Order No. 13 series of 1998 in conducting consultations prior to the increase in tuition. The said memo stipulates that students may be represented by not more than 10 during consultations.

“The Ched memorandum is itself faulty and does not follow the democratic process. It only encourages higher educational institution’s (HEI) greed for profit by allowing them to increase the tuition as long as there is a so-called consultation even with less than 10 students or stakeholders present,” she said.

Villamor said what makes the matter worse is that there are no Ched officials present during the consultation. “Ched’s primary mandate is to regulate HEIs and not simply to approve proposals for the increase in tuition,” she said.

The six percent increase in energy fee, according to Villamor, is another questionable item because the Ateneo administration said part of the increase will be used for the construction of the 18-storey community tower of the university. “Why should we pay for something we have not yet used and we might not use because some of us might graduate before the building gets completed?” asked Villamor.

Petition-signing calling for genuine consultation is now gaining ground in the university.

For reference:
Maureene Ann Villamor

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