“These numbers are simply astounding and is comparable to the profits of a commercial company. Clearly, these schools are not in the red and there is no reason to again increase tuition and other school fees next year.” ("Top private universities in PH earning billions in profits", Kabataan party-list website)When one looks at the infographic posted in the Anakbayan article (see below), at first glance, the numbers are staggering.
|Infographic from the Anakbayan webite.|
P14.8 billion is, indeed, quite a bit of money, and can be used to illustrate, at least to Anakbayan and Kabataan, how parents of students in private schools are, in Crisostomo's words, "scammed through the collection of high tuition and questionable other school fees."
However, since I am an employee of one of those private schools (Ateneo de Manila, for full disclosure), the numbers presented by the leftists are misleading and intended to inflame those who do not take time to do a little research.
One will note that, even in the Anakbayan article, what is mostly listed is the gross income. I will not refer to it as profit, which is what the Anakbayan article calls it, since the school will have to benefit from it for it to be profit (those in business may feel free to correct me on this.). Since it is the gross income, it is the total amount that the school has collected, before expenses.
It costs a lot to run a school. By law, the largest slice of the tuition pie must go to teachers' salaries, and, depending on the average number of years a teacher has spent in a school, one's salary can increase, albeit to a limited extent, so the school has to be able to account for that. After that, there are utilities to consider: electricity, water, and so on.
In the Anakbayan article, the Ateneo is listed to have collected P2.9 billion in tuition fees, but the article does not take into consideration that the Ateneo de Manila is composed of several units scattered throughout the metropolis. Aside from its main campus in Loyola Heights, there are the professional schools in Rockwell, Makati, which includes the MBA and law programs. Then, there is the medical school, which is based in Medical City in Pasig City. One puts these schools together, and the figure of P2.9 billion isn't too difficult to hit.
Even the so-called profit (UST, and La Salle posted their net profit.) will be something the school will most likely use to upgrade itself, at least, speaking with my own workplace in mind. The coming of senior high school, for example, will entail massive spending in order to build the necessary classrooms, as well as the other various facilities needed by a school.
To support their call to stop tuition fee hikes, Kabataan, Anakbayan, and other leftist organizations will point to the 1987 Constitution, in which section 1 of Article XIV states,
"The State shall protect and promote the right of all citizens to quality education at all levels, and shall take appropriate steps to make such education accessible to all."However, the Philippine government has done this, by instituting and maintaining state colleges and universities. Private institutions, such the Ateneo de Manila, La Salle, and UST, do not receive government money (at least, I don't think they do.), and, thus, must generate their own income via the tuition fees and other school fees. At the same time, such institutions, if they wish to continue to be considered among the country's, if not the world's, best, they must continually upgrade to keep pace. This, of course, requires money, a fact of life that leftist organizations such as Anakbayan and Kabataan simply cannot understand, or refuse to understand.
It is doubtful that the leftists' fulmination over the rising cost of education will gain any noticeable traction, since it is something that they have been protesting for time immemorial. One of their problems is that they seem to see the world through an ideology that is outdated and irrelevant. Another is their penchant for not telling the whole truth, such as the manner by which they presented the so-called "profit" of the private schools. Such tactics ensure that they will remain a strident, but insignificant, voice in the wilderness.
At the same time, it should be a spur for the government, through its Department of Education (DepEd), to ensure that Filipino students are able to get quality education in the public schools, since students and their parents would not be compelled to enter expensive private schools if the quality of public education was top-notch.
It is food for thought as the DepEd continues its preparations for the K-12 educational reform, to make sure that the new educational program fulfills its objective of improving the quality of Philippine education. Otherwise, the possible failure of K-12 would give leftists more momentum to rail against the rising costs of Philippine education.