Can the tuition fee hike still be stopped?
Parents working abroad, brace yourselves for another round of tuition fee hike. More than 1,000 elementary and secondary private schools are set to increase their tuition fees this coming 2014–2015 school year, said the Department of Education (DepEd).
Parents who have kids in college are also not exempt as the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) announced that more than 350 private universities and colleges are applying for tuition fee increase this coming academic year.
Four congressmen, however, are still trying to stop the latest tuition fee increases even as many schools are already preparing for the resumption of classes this June.
House of Representatives’ Makabayan bloc has once again called for Congress to take up House Bill 354, a bill that was originally filed at the beginning of the 16th Congress last year. HB 354 calls for a 3-year moratorium halting all tuition fee increases except in schools that have posted net losses in the previous year.
The bill supporters said ‘the meteoric and unchecked rise of school fees in practically all private and public educational institutions in the country further burdens our already suffering populace.’
Authored by Neri Colmenares (Bayan Muna) Carlos Isagani Zarate (Bayan Muna) Antonio Tinio (ACT Teachers Partylist) and Terry Ridon (Kabataan), HB 354 remains pending in the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education chaired by Pasig City Congressman Romulo Roman.
So can this bill that is still hibernating in Congress alleviate the burden of the tuition fee hike this school year? It seems unlikely.
The Deped has already announced late last week that 244 private elementary and high schools in Metro Manila and Western Visayas were allowed to hike tuition fees. The CHEd for its part is expected to grant most of those who applied for an increase. They said that this increase is granted to raise teachers’ salaries and improve the facilities of these schools.