Protest actions of thousands upon thousands of students against budget cuts on state universities and colleges (SUCs) is now an annual event and yet it seems that House and Senate remain deaf to the demands of these young people.
Article XIV Section 1 of the 1987 Constitution states that “The State shall protect and promote the right of all citizens to quality education at all levels, and shall take appropriate steps to make such education accessible to all.” This provision specified the State.
Given this premise, would not slashing the budget for state universities and colleges (SUCs) be considered unconstitutional? By annually slashing the SUC budget and pushing these institutions to be self reliant, the State is abandoning its responsibility to ensure that education “at all levels” is accessible to all as provided for by the Constitution.
The continuing budget cuts is in line with the government’s program of making SUCs self reliant, which the present administration identifies as part of its private public partnership. When the SUCs are self reliant it means the government will no longer have to allocate budget or funds for tertiary education. This in effect is geared toward the abolition or privatization of the state funded universities and colleges. In short, SUCs are then sold to the private sector, eventually directing its purposes as that for profit and not for the public service of educating its citizens.
Aside from abandoning its Constitutional mandate, the State also violates the right to education for millions of Filipinos especially the youth.
According to the latest National Statistics Coordination Board (NSCB) data, over 23 million families live in poverty and for a family of six at the average, they subsist on P 46 a day. How far can P46 go considering the sky rocketing prices of even the most basic necessities to survive, food? Under the present state of SUCs, could these families ever afford to send their children to school?
Are the people electing their representatives to the state legislative branch to sell the public education system to the private sector as a commodity for them to profit from? Or are the people electing their congressmen to insure their government shall serve their needs as a nation – such as tertiary education?
For thousands of youth to keep marching the streets to demand the recognition of and respect for their right to education is evidence of the failure of governance. # nordis.net