Abandonment and Resistance: A protracted collision for the right to education and genuine social transformation
Wednesday, 10 August 2011 12:58
Once again, the education sector faces new, yet usual, wave of budget cuts. Behind the promises of change and reforms, the Aquino administration, after more than a year in the post, ironically, continues to implement anti-student and anti-people policies that worsen the crisis in the education system, in particular, and the whole society in general.
The day after President Aquino delivered his second State of the Nation Address, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) released the proposed Annual Budget for Fiscal Year 2012.
Among the 112 State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) across the country, 51 will have their Total Budget for 2012 slashed compared to this year’s budget. This proposed budget also contains the worst budget cuts in the allocation for Personal Services of SUCs – the fiscal allocation for the salaries of teaching and non-teaching employees of the SUCs. This will surely affect the teaching, research, administrative and other services of our state schools.
Western Mindanao State University, the largest higher education institution in Zamboanga Peninsula, despite its increased budgetary allocation for 2012, will have its allocation for Personal Services slashed by P364, 000. Moreover, even if there is a P6M increase in the university’s 2012 budget, this is still minimal. This is insufficient to go along with the increasing student population and the strong needs and demands for the improvement of the ‘antediluvian-like’ books, facilities and equipments of the university.
In addition, the government allotted no amount, even a single centavo, for Capital Outlay. This implies that there will be no allotment, again, for the acquisition of new facilities (like chairs, electric fans, multi-media projectors, and et al.) and construction of new buildings and classrooms.
While SUCs receive slaps of budget slashes, the government continues to increase the allotments for debt payments and other corruption-prone, dole-outs, illogical and impractical allocations like Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF, commonly known as Pork Barrel), Conditional Cash Transfer, Public-Private Partnership subsidy and military expenditures.
These cuts in the budget for WMSU and other SUCs will commercialize the Philippine education further. This will provide the condition for the universities and colleges to exhaust all its capacity and power to cope with such fiscal limitations, and most possibly is an increase of tuition and miscellaneous rates, and/or an intensified engagement of the university with corporate ventures and other forms of privatization.
These schemes of commercialization and privatization have continuously made education less accessible or rather ‘inaccessible’ to the majority who are undeniably economically incapacitated to acquire education.
In the present system of Philippine education, it has become a commodity, instead of a social service and a basic right of every one. Meaning, in that case, those who cannot afford to ‘buy’ and ‘afford’ education, essentially, do not have the right to go to school.
WMSU, alongside with other SUCs, plays important roles in nation building and in national and regional development. The present policies towards education are explicit manifestations of state abandonment in its constitutional duty to prioritize education and make it accessible to all citizens at all levels.
The Aquino administration seems to be of no difference from its predecessor, paradoxically to the former’s strong and heavy criticisms to the latter, in terms of socio-economic policies.
It continues to misallocate our fiscal resources and follow the dictates of the foreign imperialist US-World Bank-International Monetary Fund (US-WB-IMF) in implementing neoliberal globalization policies of denationalization, liberalization, privatization and deregulation for imperialist desires and at the expense of the Filipinos’ interest.
The aforementioned policies, for decades now, have continued to dismantle our education system and local economy. It incessantly kills the genuine existence of nationalism and democracy, on the case that the majority is being deprived of their democratic rights and interest and making every inch of human necessity, like education, a commodity for the imperialist’s sake for profit.
The present Philippine Educational system is commercialized, colonial and fascist and, therefore, is anti-youth, anti-people and anti-development.
The education system must, therefore, be (1) mass-oriented – it must be accessible to the people and should not be made as a commodity, (2) nationalist – it must promote and uphold nationalism and the revolutionary tradition of Filipinos in defending national sovereignty and interest against foreign and imperialist control, and (3) scientific – it should evade the backward feudal and the deceptive character of the present system of education and must gear towards the development of the society and national industrialization.
It is imperative in this worsening societal crisis for the youth and the Filipino people to resist and strengthen the struggle for genuine social change.
History teaches us that only through the collective action and the formidable resistance of the people can these objectives be achieved. It is time to heed the call for more intensified actions. Apathy and passivity will only make way for further injustice.
Resist budget cuts in WMSU and other SUCs!
No to commercialization of education!
Fight for greater state subsidy!
Struggle for mass-oriented, nationalist and scientific education!
Struggle for National Democracy towards Socialism!
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