National labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno condemned today Commission on Higher Education chairperson Dr. Patricia Licuanan for saying that not all students should go to college, claiming that she is trying to justify government policies denying college education to Filipino youth.
The labor group said Licuanan’s statement, made at an interview over the weekend, is an attack on the principle that college education is a right and an attempt to justify cuts in government subsidy to college education and increases in tuition and other fees in colleges and universities.
“Licuanan wants Filipinos to accept government policies aimed at denying college education to the youth. She is justifying the government’s attacks on Filipinos’ right to college education,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.
The labor leader said that Licuanan, by also encouraging Filipinos to enroll in technical-vocational courses, is making a pitch for the K+12 program, which will infuse high school education with such courses, make high school graduates eligible for employment, and deny them college education.
“K+12 aims to replace college education with technical-vocational courses in high school. It will deny college education to the youth and confine them to jobs needing technical-vocational skills,” said Labog.
Citing widespread unemployment and the poor quality of jobs available in the country, KMU criticized Licuanan’s claim that jobs await graduates of technical-vocational courses and that it’s simply culture that prods Filipinos to strive to earn a college diploma.
“It is simply not true that jobs are already available for graduates of technical-vocational courses. That’s an illusion being peddled to try to make Filipinos accept the restructuring of education to tailor-fit the needs of businesses and the denial of college education to the Filipino youth,” Labog stated.
KMU said it’s the quality of jobs available to graduates of technical-vocational courses, and not simply culture that is responsible for Filipinos’ desire to finish college education.
“If Filipinos want to finish college, it’s because they want to have a chance to increase their employment options beyond those available to graduates of technical-vocational courses. They want to have a chance to be employed in work that’s not low-paying, contractual, and highly-repressive,” Labog added.
He also said that Licuanan’s statements are doubly infuriating because they came from the head of CHED, an agency whose website lists as its mandate that of ensuring that “quality higher education is accessible to all who seek it particularly those who may not be able to afford it.”
Posted By: Lynne Pingoy