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‘Heartbreaking’ school policy

/ 10:52 PM April 12, 2013

After almost 10 years, I recently found myself back in my alma mater, the University of the Philippines Manila, to show my support for a fellow “Iska,” Kristel Tejada, who committed suicide. It is so heartbreaking to hear that the same university that helped me become the lawyer that I am now has a policy that forces students to file a leave of absence (LOA) even in the middle of the semester if he/she cannot pay the tuition. I can’t help but ask what happened.

Why such a policy?

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I was blessed to have finished my studies because my tuition back in high school (Quezon City Science) was only P300 per year; and in UP Manila, as a political science student, I paid only P5,000 per semester. But what if I were enrolled in UP Manila now? For sure, if I would have had financial constraints, I would have been asked to file an LOA which would have been an impediment to my dream of becoming a lawyer. It is such an irony that we UP students are called “Iskolar ng Bayan” when our tuition is almost the same as those charged by private universities.

Where is the logic in the policy of asking a student to file an LOA or forcing him/her to drop out in the middle of the semester for failure to promptly pay his/her tuition when, in fact, the UP budget is sourced from the government’s tax revenues? Does UP have serious funds-related problems that it must adopt this kind of policy at the expense of the future of poor but deserving students? In the case of Kristel, it came at the expense of her life.

I just hope that her death will not be in vain. I pray that after this tragedy, students of state universities will not suffer because of policies that lack compassion and consideration for deserving and brilliant young minds.

—CARMELA NIERVA,

[email protected]

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TAGS: education, Kristel Tejada, letters to the editor, opinion, UP Manila
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