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The truth in free tuition

The youth have succeeded in gaining the P8.3 billion allocated last year's Duterte administration for student tuition in more than ...

The youth have succeeded in gaining the P8.3 billion allocated last year's Duterte administration for student tuition in more than 100 state universities and colleges (SUCs) in the country.

A few months after the declaration, the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) issued a memorandum of understanding on the implementation of the said Budget or Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST). It states that instead of free education for everyone, prioritize "poor but worthy students."

The same is the scene after the University of the Philippines (UP) -Diliman chancellor declared Dr. Michael Tan this month as long as there is no clear policy on the implementation of the free tuition policy, will not be able to collect tuition fees at UP Diliman in the upcoming first semester.

Subsequently, the Philippine Institute of Development Studies (PIDS) think-tanked Facebook has infographic on the UniFAST's correctness and the "contravention" of free-of-charge tuition for all.

IBON Foundation, an independent research institute in the country, denied this. According to them, the PIDS is at the forefront and at the point of view.

"With the free tuition fee, education is social good (for the good of society). He is not a commodity, "said UG Naguit, education advocacy specialist of IBON, using PIDS on" user pay principle ", an approach that values ​​individual payment of the people. "The state has mandated the Constitution to give it to citizens."

But this is not so easy, the belief of PIDS. In their written policy paper, they find that a major factor in being "counterproductive" is that free tuition fees and taxes will be allocated for education improvement and exemption.

"The tax increase does not happen just and without spending," PIDS said. As a result, the infrastructure, agriculture, and other expenses will be reduced.

Ben Te, second secretary of the Kabataan Partylist, said that taxpayers need more than just being charged today and increasingly needing to reduce service to other sectors of society.

"Imagine how much our government is spending for bombing in Mindanao, Marawi. She gets funding. But the problem is, because our government wants it, [earns] the profits of the universities, so there is high tuition, "Te explained.

IBON also said the government should not service its services in various sectors, especially in addressing the needs of the poor.

"That's why there's such a thing (not studying), high school accessibility is too limited for low-income groups," JP pikquig, publications section head of IBON. In one IBON study, two in every three families live at P125 per day.

Despite these controversies, IBON and PIDS are united with free tuition to make it a true free education for the people. According to PIDS, there are no half of the cost to study the tuition. There is the cost of accommodation, fares, equipment and more.

Because of this, the PIDS believes that those who are able to fill the expenses apart from tuition will only benefit from free tuition.

But if PIDS sees it as a free tuition against the poor, it sees others as a preliminary step towards achieving free and quality education in the country.

"Regardless of what your economic bracket is, education is the right of every citizen. As the PIDS shows, education is the privilege (of them), which is a commodity that is priced, "concluded Naguit.

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