As youth groups led by Anakbayan marches to Mendiola on July 14, 2016, we call on President Rodrigo Duterte to make education free for the Filipino people, reverse the tuition and other fees increase policy, and scrap the K-12 program.
While we welcome Duterte’s efforts to prioritize education, we call on the new administration to not just push for scholarships as indicated in the eight-point economic agenda but provide free education for all.
With his political will and overwhelming public support, Duterte can go against the oligarchs in the privatized education sector and do what no past president has done before by pushing for free education for all.
Exactly 1,232 private elementary and high schools, and 304 private higher educational institutions increased tuition and other fees for the current academic year.
is a human right that forms an essential part of a person’s development. It must be free for all and not a commercialized product accessible to only those who can afford the high cost of tuition and other fees.
We also reiterate our call for the junking of the K-12 program as this does not make the Filipino youth competent but is only focused on creating an army of cheap semi-skilled laborers for transnational corporations while pushing many more to dropout due to the high cost of education.
We say President Duterte’s earlier stand – before he retracted and later on supported the K-12 program – that the country’s educational system remains ill-equipped to proceed in fully implementing the K-12 program remains valid.
In fact, the Duterte government faced such a predicament when a crumbling educational system welcomed his first days in office. The drastic drop of enrollment, with 400,000 students unable to proceed to Grade 11 should be reason enough to immediately stop the K-12 program.
This comes on top of the lack of facilities and teachers to teach senior high school and the displacement of college teachers which are but some of the other problems brought about by the K-12 program. Coupled with the annual tuition hikes, the K-12 program has deprived Grade 10 completers of any hopes of achieving higher schooling.
Depriving the masses of any form of learning has always been a tool for the ruling oligarchs to keep them ignorant and unable to change conditions of oppression. We call on Duterte to stay true to his call for change and make education free for everyone.