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Student protests resurge in Philippines as university goes without power for a month, borrows funds to pay teachers

Issues at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines further illustrate issues in funding education, as they operated without power for over a month now. Meanwhile, the university’s staff remain desperate to borrow money to pay their teachers. 

  • 10 months ago
  • June 6, 2023
2 min read

QUEZON CITY, Philippines — On April 29, 2023, students gathered in front of the Commission on Higher Education in Quezon City. They stood up to protest inequity and budget cuts in education. The demonstration held by the Rise for Education Alliance reflects reoccurring difficulties with the Philippine education system. The protests, which have been happening for years, resurged last month. While the country experienced some improvements, such as the passage of legislation to improve access and increase funding, protesters say there is long way to go. 

Many feel the government does not care about poor people’s education 

The impact of inflation on education costs in the Philippines continues to threaten younger generations. Students gathered to protest the Education Act of 1982‘s commercialization. One of the most important concerns affecting the Philippine education system remains access. Many students, particularly those from low-income families, find themselves struggling to pay the rising cost of tuition and fees. As a result, education becomes increasingly inaccessible to those in need. Issues at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines further illustrate the problem. The university operated without power for over a month now. Meanwhile, the university’s staff remain desperate to borrow money to pay their teachers. 

People also feel concerned about the quality of education in the country, particularly in public schools. Many students claim the curriculum is out of date and teachers lack the necessary training and resources to provide a high-quality education. The anti-mandatory ROTC demonstration raises broader issues about militarization and human rights in the Philippines. Demonstrators claim the ROTC program fosters a culture of violence and hostility. They feel it violates students’ rights to free expression and association.

According to sources, inflation declined to 7.6 percent in March from 8.6 percent in February. This as the consumer price increase came to a halt and inflation forecasted at 6.3 percent for the year. According to analysts, the Philippine economy grew by less than 6 percent in the first quarter of 2023. The COVID-19 pandemic created a great divide between students who lack proper technology to access classes and those who could afford it. This worsened educational inequality, making it hard low-income families to keep up with their studies. 

All photos courtesy of Jose Monsieur Santos.

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