A month ago, college students from the University of Santo Tomas (UST) created this slogan sounding like bitter, broken in-love tagline in the social media. This caught the attention of many students thinking it was a trending love hashtag, but it turned out to be a protest: Ayokong Magmahal.. ang tuition fee.
Like UST, Ateneo de Davao University will be one of around 400 universities to increase its tuition and other fees for the upcoming academcic year 2015-2016. AdDU increased from P978 last year to P1, 036 per unit this year. Yet, unlike them, Ateneans seem unthreatened by these constantly increasing fees. While students from other institutions bleed creative juices trying to involve others in the fight against TOFI, we seem to be very oblivious about this issue.
Three years ago must have been the last time a small crowd of Ateneans protested against TOFI outside the Roxas gate. It was a blazing hot issue on Viewfinders held before. Those are rarely seen today. Nobody is brave enough anymore to wave a placard reminding the administration that parents are struggling in catching up with the increases. There are no more heated debates to defend those students who are struggling to support their studies with their part-time jobs.
Shouldn’t a Jesuit institution be sensitive to the situation of its constituents? However, the administration wouldn’t know if the students are burdened if the students themselves don’t show they are. If this increase really was for better quality professors, are the students justified? Many still complain of irresponsible and unreasonable teachers today.
Perhaps the community likes the way tuition and other fees increase, like it’s a price tag to label a value. The higher amount they pay, the better quality education they get. Maybe students here feel like it’s choosing between a regular 3-in-1 coffee and Starbucks coffee. It’s comical how students would argue in AdDU Confessions about who’s a better social climber, specifically like how one should prefer the American apparel than the local ones or how taking a selfie with inexpensive brands is a disgrace to the AdDU name. The word ‘alta’ must have originated in this institution.
Maybe that’s why the students don’t ask about the basis of TOFI anymore because they like paying MORE to be labeled, ‘of higher quality’. Well, if that philosophy of value—the more expensive, the more valuable—continues to exist in this institution, then AdDU would be like a P3000 plain t-shirt with a brand name printed on it.
Ateneans, be sure that what you’re paying for is really worth the price! Scrutinize! Ask!