Youth solon urges tough tuition law to protect students, parents

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NAGA CITY (BicolToday.com/4-April-2013) – Kabataan Partylist Rep. Raymond Palatino urged the need for a “strong tuition regulation law” that would give government agencies such as CHED “muscle and teeth” to control tuition and other fees in over 2,000 higher education institutions nationwide.

Partylist Rep. Palatino informed BicolToday.com on Wedneday over reports that about 400 colleges and universities have submitted tuition hike proposals to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) for school year 2013-2014.

“The government’s current tuition regulation policy – CHED Memorandum Order 3 – is a toothless paper tiger. While the said policy lays down guidelines for proper consultations regarding fee increases, CHED has no proper mechanism to monitor compliance,” Palatino said.

Palatino took note that tuition and other fees in tertiary schools nationwide increase an average of 10-15% yearly. He added that most increases do no undergo any form of democratic consultation with students, parents and other concerned sectors.
In 2011, Palatino filed House Bill No. 4286 or the Tuition Regulation Bill which seeks to institutionalize a mechanism for the “strict regulation of the yearly increase of tuition and other fees.”

HB 4286 lays down strict guidelines on the imposition of tuition and other fees, including rules regarding tuition increases and strict penalty clauses for erring higher education institutions which include imprisonment and a fine that could go as much as five million pesos.

“The proposed bill basically empowers CHED to regulate tuition and other fees while also strengthening and institutionalizing the role of students, teachers and parents in the consultation process,” Palatino explained.

While the said bill has been backed by various student governments and organizations nationwide, it failed to get past the committee level during the 15th Congress. The youth solon said that Kabataan Partylist intends to refile the said bill if granted another term in Congress.

“CMO 3 is clearly not enough to stop the unabated tuition and other fee increases in the country. We need strong legislation to reform the deregulated and profit-oriented education system that we have today,” [BicolToday.com]

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