Members of the Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL) – Youth staged a protest action in front of the Commission on Higher Education office today to protest the tuition fee hike of more than 200 private colleges and universities nationwide.
The youth activists criticized the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) for allowing the increase following the Department of Education’s approval of tuition fee increase in private elementary and high school institutions.
“This will no doubt aggravate the heavy burden on poor families with children trying to get to college and aiming for better livelihood opportunities. Happening at a time when state colleges and universities are having difficulties in absorbing more students amidst the measly budget provided to them by the government, the tuition fee increases will further limit the choices of students entering the tertiary level,” said Marco Gojol, APL-Youth Secretary General.
“Education is a right more than a profit-oriented business endeavor,” Gojol said. He reminded CHED that education, including tertiary education, should be made available to the poor.
APL and its allies under the Sentro ng Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO) have raised the bleak future of out-of-school youth as well as of new graduates who are facing the uncertainty of landing a secure and decent job.
The activists, in an earlier action, bemoaned the fact that for their generation, the promise – get a degree, get a job in the corporate world and you’ll live a better life than your parents – has long been broken.
“With the increase in tuition fee, those among us who will be forced to drop out of college will have to deal with the stark reality that landing a job will be even more difficult than those who were able to graduate from college, many of whom are still jobless,” Gojol explained.
Unemployment in this country is largely a problem affecting the youth. The youth comprise one-fifth of the labor force but they account for one-half of the total unemployed.
The group called for the re-channeling of debt servicing for illegitimate debts to education.
APL and APL-Youth are members of SENTRO, the new national labor center of various workers’ organizations in the private, informal and migrant sectors. APL-Youth, composed of teens and young adults ages 15-35 based in communities, schools and workplaces, aims to unite and empower the youth sector and to link them with the labor movement and the broader social movements.