Kopi Princess <data:blog.pageTitle/> - Adding a little caffeine to your life

The Bully.
Sunday, March 17, 2013 posted at 3/17/2013 06:58:00 AM ♥ 0 comments

This past few days, sad news were all over the media - bloodshed in Sabah, countless crimes all over the metro, endless and senseless political campaigns on different media channels, etc. But the one news that caught my attention, unfortunately, is the suicide of a 16-year-old UP student.

According to the news circulating around, Krisel Tejada, a Behavioral Science student from UP-Manila, killed herself by drinking a silver cleaner. The reason: she was unable to pay for he tuition and the possibility of not going to school to finish her degree. The reports added that Tejada is the eldest of the five brood, and her father is a part-time taxi driver and her mother is a housewife.

It was a sad,sad news. All of us were brought up to believe that having a proper education is a must. It is the key for us to have a good job and a good life. We were led to believe that having a diploma would be our way to a better future.

But what doesn't add up is the discrepancy between the need to have education and the opportunity. In my younger years, this discrepancy was not yet acknowledged or noticed. I went to a public school during my primary, and I must say that my parents did not regret it, so am I. My school was blessed with good teachers who spent years of backbreaking teaching kids despite the low salary. It was only when I entered high school that I got a taste of private schooling. I guess my parents wanted me to experience the best of worlds. It was then we started to struggle and experienced the burden of paying tuition. I can only imagine how my mother was able to gather the resources to pay for my high education, not to add other expenses such as paying for my school services and such.

Same with college. I went to a Catholic, non-sectarian school to finished my course. Money was tight, or tighter then (and now). I had lots of requirements and projects to pass one subject. It was unfathomable how me and my parents were able to afford such education. But I think I had loads of help from our school paper publication, who gave me some financial aid in exchange for my services as a reporter/photographer. I considered that as my first job.

Now this news really baffled me. UP, as far as I know is a state university - meaning they are subsidized by the government. I remember many of us wanted to go to this university because of the low tuition. It was just later that I learned that it is not affordable at all. In fact, it was almost the same as private institution. And for the past years, I heard several news about UP tuition hike which skyrocketed to almost 300%.  My colleague, who is UP graduate, told me that you cannot blame the school if they increase the schooling fee since the money is used for professors' wages and improvement of school facilities; but she too is appalled and saddened by what happened.

I think my issue is not about the increase, but rather on the university's "No Late Payment" policy and their heartless way of turning down students who are requesting for a student loan or extension. I'm lucky that my schools were considerate of such situations. They understand the fact that there are students who are incapable of paying their tuition and give them a chance, an equal chance, for a proper education. I thought UP is the home of the liberal minds. In fact, they are considered as the "enlightened one" by many since the school honed a lot of literary luminaries, artists, business movers and shakers, and innovators.

But by the way things are going, I think the school is being selective of the students they want in their institution. It seems that if you don't have moolah, your chances of staying there are slim. Some deem the policies "anti-poor" and an anathema to image of UP as a "iskolar ng bayan." I think we are having a hard time reconciling the image and the policy.

While that is happening, countless students were caught between staying or quitting school because of financial constraints and ironic policies. You know those stereotype mean students that we see on TV and movies who bullied students out of school, I think that this is the reputation thatthis academic institution is now aiming to. I don't want to sound so bad. Okay, I did not go to UP, but I think in this story, they are the "bullies". The "University of Proletariat" lost its touch.

We don't know what really transpired, but if that is the real story, then I think it is an indication that the system of our education heading to destruction. It shows that education nowadays has becoming a privilege for our fellow countryman.  

In my opinion, the solution is pretty simple. For students: do not end your life. Remember that there are other ways. Think about your parents and how brokenhearted they will be. To the school administration: remember that your job is to provide solid education, not to turn down students when they don't have the capacity to pay. As educators, you should have compassion. And to our dear government: have a heart. While students, who are also your voters, are struggling to finished their degree, you should think twice before putting that money on your pocket and use it for your personal gain.

(Related news:UP Manila urged to change tuition policies after student's suicide)