OFFICERS OF the Faculty of Arts and Letters Student Council (ABSC) expressed disappointment over UST’s consultation on the proposed increase in tuition and other fees, saying it should have considered the opinions of all its students.
On April 27, the University proposed a 7% increase in tuition, miscellaneous and other fees for the next academic year.
It has until June 1 to submit documents related to its proposed tuition hike to the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd).
ABSC President Kim Czaccei Dacanay claimed that the consultation conducted by UST “lacked sectoral representation,” as it only took into account voices from “student leaders.”
“The circumstances and voices of the stakeholders- working students, scholars, faculties, and labor unions, among others, weren’t taken into account,” she told The Flame.
Dacanay added that a sectoral consultation allows a culture of transparency and accountability within the University and ensures that all stakeholders have a say in its decision-making process.
ABSC Internal Vice-President Jose Maria Balbaboco echoed Dacanay’s statement, saying the consultation should have involved all stakeholders.
“While we appreciate the efforts of the University to tackle this matter with the student leaders, we must maximize this consultation because it is the whole community we are all talking about,” he said.
Balbaboco called on academic institutions to engage in a dialogue with all parties to be affected by the impending tuition increase.
ABSC Secretary Janica Kate Buan said the University should consider the opinions of students before fully implementing the tuition hike.
“After all, it is the students who pay and use the campus utilities, so it only makes sense that we receive proper information regarding the tuition hike as it justifies the kind and quality of education we are receiving now,” she said.
The Thomasian community, Buan claimed, was not given enough time to process and prepare for the hike.
“There was no time to view the proper breakdown of fees, where the money will be spent, and how the university plans to use these funds, so it is really unfair,” she said.
Sought for reaction, AB Assistant Dean Melanie Turingan cited the university comptroller’s statement that UST is “only reinstating the previously included fees which coincide with the CHEd-approved fees to be included in miscellaneous and other fees.”
Last January, CHED Chairman Prospero de Vera signed a memorandum giving schools until April 28 to hold consultations on matters related to tuition increase. He cited the need to give higher educational institutions ample time to consult with their faculty and student body on the intended adjustment of fees.
The National Union of Students of the Philippines has urged schools to defer tuition hikes, citing the need to provide families a respite from the rising prices of goods and to make education accessible to everyone. F – Aubrey S. Lim