Gatchalian warns of impending crisis on access to education amid tuition hikes

MANILA – Senator-elect and outgoing Valenzuela City Rep. Win Gatchalian on Friday expressed serious concerns about the impact of skyrocketing tuition fees on access to education amid government approval of increases in tuition and other fees by 1,536 schools at the basic and tertiary levels.

“We could have a real educational access crisis on our hands if the cost of education continues to rise at this exorbitant rate,” said Gatchalian, a majority member of the House committees on basic and higher education during the 16th Congress.

Gatchalian’s comments came as the Commission on Higher Education approved tuition hikes in 304 private universities and colleges last Thursday.

The Department of Education also approved tuition increases in 1,232 private elementary and high schools in the previous day.

In particular, Gatchalian questioned the propriety of approving tuition hikes at the high school level, amid reports indicating that less than 30 percent of the expected 1.3 million early registrants for grade 11 have enrolled, just four days before the first day of classes on Monday, June 13.

“The government must reconsider the wisdom of imposing additional costs on education at a time when the public is not yet confident about K-12. The positive benefits of the K-12 reform will be negated if it results in a mass exodus of students whose families simply cannot afford to send them to school anymore,” he said. Sammy Martin/ PNA/ northboundasia.com