Why and how education cost spirals
When La Salle Taft had a financial crisis, it turned to its wealthy alumni for help, who infused millions but who took over. The Brothers who had the MISSION were less influential than the entrepreneurs who had the BUSINESS policies to keep the school above water. The financial became the survival priority.
When schools veer from the goal of education toward business, there must be a balance, otherwise our youth and their parents are the victims of unaffordable tuition. Why has tuition spiraled?
As a business, schools have somehow the tendency to make tuition higher. Air-conditioned classrooms, high-end equipment, tons of computers, better sports facilities. There is a wide gray area between “very important” and “not needed.” Thus, tuition has quadrupled in the last
few decades, not just because of inflation.
A few years ago, the Iranians sent their kids to schools here. At one time, there were about 6,000. Today, they
are about 500. Tomorrow, there will be zero. Our tuition somehow spiraled above those of other Asian Third World nations, because the mission is lost.
When UP Diliman was subsidized by the government for decades, bright provincial students were around. Suddenly, in one year, tuition increased threefold because of financial problems. The poor students protested in vain. UP Diliman became a school for the rich due to its need for financial survival. There is no excuse, because there were sudden windfall profits from land sold or rented out to malls. UP Diliman today can actually lower tuition accordingly, but profitability is irreversible. Who will fight for the bright but poor students? Tell that to the marines.
Slowly, we have inadvertently built schools catering to the rich, yet we say the youth have a right to education. How? The poor students who make up 90 percent are relegated to poor-quality schools, while the rich who make up 10 percent get
the pie. A Grade 3 student from Ateneo speaks and writes better English than a fourth year high school student from Surigao City. We need an education czar very badly to move mountains for our youth.
BERNIE V. LOPEZ,
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