NUSP: Rising tuition pushing students into desperation

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Members of the National Union of Students in the Philippines staged a protest last week in front of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED in Quezon City.

(CNN Philippines) — The National Union of Students of the Philippines, is angered over DEPED's most recent string of tuition hikes in both public and private schools.

Because of a tuition hike at his school, a student was recently pushed into committing suicide, according to a statement issued by NUSP. 

Nineteen-year-old Johomary Azuala  was a computer science graduating student at the Eulogio Amang Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology (EARIST) in Manila. He took his own life last May 18 in Polilio, Quezon, after being forced to drop out of school due to a tuition increase.

Other students groups, such as the League of Filipino Students and the Kabataan partyllist, will hold a candlelight vigil for Azuala and other "victims of commercialized education" at Mendiola.

"The deregulated Philippine education drives students to the path of frustration and death due to the inaccessibility of education," said Sarah Elago, NUSP president.

The most recent increase approved by DEPED covered 1,246 private schools, and averaged 7.87% across regions, affecting schools with a base tuition of P10,000 to P35,000.

In accordance to DEPED policy, the increase is supposed to benefit the teachers (70% of the increase) and facilities, development activities, and profit (30%)

However this justification by DEPED does not answer a number of issues.

"How can that be when most of these private schools have already retrenched their teachers, dismissed them, and consigned them as contractuals. This will only pave the way to further contractualization of teachers and employees," said Elago.

Another issue was the increasing number of dropouts in the country. NUS sites that four million students drop out every year in the primary and secondary levels.

DEPED currently has no maximum rate for tuition increases.