In the four corners of our classroom or screens, we were taught that education is a constitutional right that we deserve and can easily attain. However, Angelites have laid witness, time and again, that it is but a privilege and has always been a hard-to-reach right for many youths across the nation.
The campaign for transparency and promissory notes has proven that for Holy Angel University administration, greed outweighs its own core values even amidst the pandemic. Many were unable to enroll for the second semester, while those who pushed through are in debt, and the recent news on a possible Tuition and Other Fees Increase (TOFI) is a final nail to the coffin. For an academic institution that prides itself as a non-profit organization, the university has been profiting off students with its annual tuition hike.
Much like a thief in the night, the TOFI consultation was announced behind closed doors, publications were not even made aware. This goes against the requirements that the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) has imposed on its Memorandum Order 03. Fifteen (15) days before the consultation, HEIs must post announcements on bulletin boards regarding this matter, and yet HAU made no efforts to inform the public through its online platforms.
Violations of these guidelines can lead to the cancellation of the university’s TOFI application, as stated in Article IV. However, these grievances and complaints can only be forwarded by the student council to the CHED regional office.
As we see no foreseeable end to this public health crisis anytime in the near future, parents and students alike are forced to loan large sums of money in order to continue with their schooling. The online mode of education has also made it difficult for both learners and teachers; alarming reports on distance learning-related suicides have flooded headlines. The facts that have long been staring.
The neoliberal attacks on education have taken to greater, more delirious heights in the face of the ongoing public health crisis. Holy Angel University has reduced itself into a paradox, upholding academic freedom, consequently, means standing up for accessible, inclusive, and quality education. Angelites have fought for their liberties head-on many times before with great militancy and solidarity — this fight is no exception!