University of the Philippines ManilaCollege of Arts & SciencesDepartment of Behavioral Sciences
Let Kristel Tejada’s Death Lead to Meaningful Changes!Right to Education for All!
A statement of the Department of Behavioral Sciences, UP Manila
The faculty and staff of the Department of Behavioral Sciences of the University of the Philippines Manila extend our deepest sympathies to the family of Kristel PilarMariz P. Tejada on her untimely demise. The tragic death of Kristel, 16-year old first year Behavioral Sciences student of UPManila, should serve not just as a wake-up call, but also as a call to action, for thecountry’s national leaders and all the constituents of the premier State University togenuinely address the worsening condition of our education system, in particular,the continued onslaught of tuition increases that deprive many poor but deservingstudents like Kristel of their constitutional right to education. The death of Kristel should be an occasion for University officials to thoroughlyexamine and institute meaningful and pro-student changes in policies, structuresand mechanisms related to tuition payments, scholarship and financial assistanceprograms and services, within the UP System, particularly in UP Manila, and torevoke all policies and programs that run counter to students’ welfare and interest.Kristel’s death should not be just another statistic added to the increasing number of
Iskolar ng Bayan
who are unable to pursue and complete their UP education becauseof insurmountable financial burdens that their economically disadvantaged familieshave to face in the midst of limited opportunities and elitist educational policies. Herdeath gave us a human face to the long standing struggle against state apathy andneglect of the education of our youth. The 1987 Philippine Constitution recognizes the obligation of the State to ensure theenjoyment of the right to education, including tertiary education, by all Filipinocitizens. Article XIV Section 1 stipulates:
The State shall protect and promote the right of all citizens to quality Education
at all levels
(underscore provided) and shall take appropriatesteps to make such education accessible to all.
Thus, tertiary education is a human right every Filipino citizen is entitled to acquire.State policies, programs and other forms of interventions which will enable itspeople, particularly the vulnerable and marginalized sections of the population, toaccess tertiary education have to be in place. Sufficient State support and subsidiesto State colleges and universities like UP, expanded scholarship and financialassistance grants, student loan programs, study now pay later schemes, installmentpayment plans, student employment programs, are some of the strategies which canbe explored and instituted to increase access to tertiary education particularly bypoor but deserving students. Identifying and formulating the appropriate andeffective programs and plans need to be done in an environment characterized bydemocratic participation, transparency and accountability.