Non-mandatory uniform rule not enough to help students, says youth solon

Making school uniforms non-mandatory isn’t enough to make education accessible as students also need financial aid, Kabataan Party-list Rep. Raoul Manuel said.

File photo of college students roaming around the campus before the pandemic. (ALI VICOY / MANILA BULLETIN / FILE PHOTO)

This, after Department of Education (DepEd) secretary, Vice President Sara Duterte mandated that students would not be required to wear school uniforms for the school year 2022 to 2023.

Read: Students not required to wear uniforms for SY 2022-2023 – DepEd

"Mainam na hindi na required ang uniforms. Pero kung nais talaga ng DepEd na bawasan ang pasanin ng mga estudyante, dapat pigilan din ang pagtaas ng matrikula at ibang bayarin. Sa bahagi naman ng Marcos Jr. admin ay dapat magbigay ng student aid, at kontrolin ang presyo ng langis at mga bilihin, lalo na ng pagkain (It’s fine that uniforms aren’t required. But if the DepEd really wants to reduce the burden on students, stop the rising costs of tuition and other fees. On the part of the Marcos administration, they should give student aid and control the prices of fuel, basic goods, especially food)," said Manuel on Tuesday, July 19.

In its statement, Kabataan even cited the DepEd Order no. 65 which was issued in May 2010. It mandated that public schools need not require the wearing of uniforms.

“The wearing of a school uniform shall not be required in public schools. Students with existing uniforms may continue using these uniforms, if they so desire, in order to avoid incurring additional costs for new attire,” read DepEd Order no. 65.

Kabataan further described Duterte’s uniform mandate as “unoriginal” and “populist", and that this was a band aid solution and not a real solution to the education crisis.

“Nagsampa din tayo ng resolusyon sa Kongreso upang magpatupad ng moratorium sa pagtaas ng tuition and other fees. Susuportahan ba ng DepEd ang mga panukalang ito (We filed a resolution in Congress to impose a moratorium on the increase of tuition and other fees. Will the DepEd support these measures)?” Manuel posed.

Manuel, early into the 19th Congress, filed a House resolution seeking a moratorium on tuition and other fee (TOFI) increases; and House Bill (HB) 252, or the Emergency Student Aid and Relief Law, to provide students with a one-time P10,000 subsidy for their learning expenses and P2,000 in monthly subsidies to assist in tuition payment and online learning.

The youth solon also cited the increase in tuition and other school fees, which went up by 4.74 percent and 10.61 percent, respectively, during the school year 2021-2022.

Read: CHED allows 56 private HEIs to increase tuition, other school fees for AY 2021-2022