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More students transfer from private to public schools
« on: June 16, 2007, 05:32:55 AM »
More college students from private schools have transferred to state universities and colleges (SUCs) this year due to rising costs of education, according to a militant youth organization.

Citing records from the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd), Kabataan partylist group, showed an exodus of college students enrolled in private schools to SUCs over the last two decades.

The group noted that in 1980, only 10 percent of college students were studying in state schools. By 1994, the number went up to 21 percent and at present already accounts for almost 40 percent of tertiary population, according to the youth organization.

"But many of these transferees will find themselves dropping out of college," Raymond Palatino, Kabataan president, said in a statement, as he warned that the situation would result to a higher number of college dropouts this school year.

"The problem is, there are no more rooms in state schools either. Not only are they few now and their enrolment quotas limited, they are also haunted by increases in tuition and other fees thus forcing many state scholars to leave,” he added.

Palatino said SUCs are also forced to accept only a limited number of students due to financial constraints.

He noted that this schoolyear, only 12,053 applicants qualified in the University of the Philippines College Admission Test (UPCAT). More than 60,000 high school graduates all over the country take the UPCAT every year.

Likewise, only 8,523 college hopefuls qualified in the Polytechnic University of the Philippines College Entrance Test (PUPCET) out of 80,000 applicants, according to Palatino.

“But many of these successful examinees did not enroll this schoolyear,” Palatino said.

He said the 300 percent tuition hike in UP led to a significant decline in the freshman enrollment in several course offerings.

“The Office of the Student Regent earlier placed the no-show rate or the number of UPCAT passers who did not enroll at 20 to 40 percent,” he said.

Palatino said that access to public higher education institutions, which are the last resort for students who want to obtain a college degree, has become impossible to many college hopefuls.

"While it is true that SUCs offer tuition lower than private schools, tuition rate and miscellaneous fees in state schools and universities have seen the biggest increases in recent years, thus making it also inaccessible to ordinary students,” he explained.

He blamed the annual cutbacks in the education budget and the government's rationalization policy, which seeks to reduce the number of state schools, led to the hike in school fees and subsequent decline in enrollment.

The policy of rationalization allows SUCs to be treated no longer as national agencies performing socially-oriented activities and hence entitled to government subsidy, but as income-earning entities, Palatino explained.

"This further translates into incentives for money-making tertiary schools, thereby fully encouraging the commercialization of education. The policy has ensured corporate dominance even in public education," he lamented.

Kabataan disclosed that from 271 in 1996, the number of public tertiary institutions went down to only 111 in 2006. CHEd figures also show declining enrollment figures in public tertiary since 1997, from a growth rate of 20.75 percent that year to only 0.9 percent by 2002.

Palatino called on the next Congress to conduct a comprehensive review of existing education policies similar to the Education Commission of 1992.

The youth group also urged lawmakers to pass pending bills seeking to institute reforms in the country’s educational system.

Among the bills awaiting approval are the proposed moratorium on tuition and other fee increases and amendments to the Education Act of 1982 which placed private tertiary education in a deregulated environment

Palatino particularly emphasized the need to resolve the controversy created by the “anomalous” suspension of CHED Memorandum Order No. 14 or the guidelines for tuition and other fee increase applications and its subsequent amendments last February. (Delfin Mallari Jr., Philippine Daily Inquirer)

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