By Charissa Luci-Atienza
Kabataan partylist Rep. Sarah Jane Elago is opposing the supposed “imminent commercialization” of Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) through its proposed charter.
She noted that there are pending legislation in Congress that not only could bring drastic changes in the PUP, but also could jeopardize the success the youth earned from their decades of struggle for free education.
She was referring to House Bill 9023 or the proposed Revised Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) Charter, which was approved by the House of Representatives on second reading before Congress adjourned session on Feb. 8 to pave way for the election campaign.
“It boasts that PUP is one of the pioneers to have two-year associate’s degrees and ladderized technical courses, but these programs are only designed to conform to state labor-export programs or address the needs of big corporations for semi-skilled workers who are always victims of low wages and contractualization,” she said.
“With that, it is clear that the immediate objective of the proposed law is to intensify the neo-liberal education policy to extract profit from the students and to run the university like a business or corporation,” Elago said.
She claimed that no consultation with students, teachers, staff and other sectors of the university was held prior to the drafting of the proposed charter change.
“Many students do not know its content and why the current charter should be changed. In effect, the charter has no clear program for the democratic interests of its students and its institutions,” Elago said.
She said it is clear that changing the PUP Charter, albeit for the increase of PUP budget, does not correspond to the interests of students and other members of the PUP community.
“Instead, it will only pursue neo-liberal education policies and reinforce the already colonial, commercialized and fascist form of education,” she said.
Elago is pushing for the plenary adoption of House Resolution 2472 calling on the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education to oppose the imminent commercialization of the PUP.
“Even when budget allocation for PUP increase, it will not go directly to the service and development of the Iskolar ng Bayan, teachers and other PUP workers,” Elago said.
“Through entering private ventures and privatization of services, PUP would then be managed like a corporation that ensures profiteering for itself and its invested business instead of providing free and quality service to the PUP community,” she said.
“In this situation, the PUP community, together with all other youth and students, are challenged once again to take the opportunity to unite and stand for free education and democratic rights of every sector within the PUP community,” Elago said.