SEVERAL UST students boycotted their classes and rallied on campus last July 3 to protest this school year’s tuition increase.

The rally started in front of the Roque Ruaño Building where several Engineering students, who walked out of their classes, joined the protest.

The group, led by UST-Anakbayan and Alliance of Concerned Thomasians (ACT-Now!) members, then marched to the Albertus Magnus Building and to the St. Raymund’s Building.

They went around the campus and joined a bigger contingent in Mendiola. There, the youth groups criticized the government’s alleged insensitivity to the plea of the students and its incapacity to check the latest tuition increase in universities and colleges nationwide.

According to campus activist groups, a total of 376 private schools and 10 state universities imposed a 10 percent to 35 percent tuition increase this year.

Furthermore, they said the government appropriated a bigger budget to the military than to education services.

Meanwhile, 20 schools, including UST, participated in the National Youth and Student Summit at La Consolacion College last July 10 to discuss the common grievances of students nationwide.

The summit focused on the alleged plan to merge and privatize 108 state colleges and universities (SCU’s), so that by the year 2005, there would only be 25 SCU’s.

According to Polytechnic University of the Philippines student council president Glee Gotiangco, the move would make tertiary education “unreachable” to the poor. Since these state colleges and universities would no longer be subsidized by the government, tuition increase in these institutions would become inevitable, he added.

The summit was organized by the e!4all coalition, an alliance of anti-government youth organizations such as Anakbayan, League of Filipino Students, Kalipunan ng Kristyanong Kabataan ng Pilipinas, National Union of Students of the Philippines, College Editor’s Guild of the Philippines, and Kabataang Artista Para Sa Tunay Na Kalayaan. Billy Joe I. Allardo and Teodoro Lorenzo A. Fernandez

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