Students, youth groups storm CHED to protest maritime courses closure

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MANILA, Philippine (05 Nov) – Students, faculty, administrators and alumni of the Philippine Maritime Institute (PMI), led by the Kabataan Party-list and the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), today stormed the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) main office for its unjust decision to immediately close down two courses offered by the PMI resulting to, among other things, the displacement of some four (4) thousand students.

“CHED decision to immediately close down, without due process, two courses offered by the maritime school has caused not only financial but also emotional distress for thousands of students who now are forced to transfer to other schools or stop studying altogether if they cannot keep up with the cost required for the transfer,” said Athena Gardon, Deputy Secretary General of Kabataan Party-list.

Gardon said that many of the students gravely affected are scholars with no financial capacity to easily transfer to another school. She also said that the students who are able to pay the P300 per unit tuition come for low-income working families. She furthered that many of the students who have already attempted to transfer are being hindered by course and curriculum mismatch.

CHED cited low passing rate and poor quality as reasons for the immediate closure of two courses offered by the PMI namely BS Marine Engineering and BS Marine Transportation. The Quezon City Regional Trial Court (QCRTC) has upheld CHED’s decision after the PMI petitioned for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO).

But Gardon blasted CHED’s decision and the court ruling, saying that “It was CHED in the first place who has opened Pandora’s box, allowing hundreds of schools to operate without strict regulation and support. And now, when things are going awry in terms of quality, the commission is taking it out on the students. That is clearly unjust.”

Gardon said that “CHED should lift its hasty decision to close down the two courses and dialogue with the stakeholders to discuss options. The future of thousands of mariners is at stake here.”

Gardon clarified that “While CHED is urged to fully exercise its mandate to ensure quality education in the country, it should always do so with consideration to the welfare of students and employees.”

Gardon said that Kabataan Party-list will file a resolution in the House of Representatives seeking an investigation to CHED’s regulatory measures in ensuring the quality of tertiary education and the guidelines the commission follows in closing down schools and courses.

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