free higher education bill

Bam to work for passage of free education in SUCs

Sen. Bam Aquino expressed confidence that the measure giving free education to all students in State Colleges and Universities (SUC) will be passed within a year.
“We’re quite hopeful that this will pass. Mahalaga na mabigyan ng tulong ang ating mahihirap na estudyante sa SUC. Marami sa amin ang talagang tinutulak ito,” said Sen. Bam, chairman of the Committee on Education, after hearing several proposals to give free tertiary education in all SUCs. 
Sen. Bam has filed Senate Bill No. 177 or the Free Higher Education for All Act giving free tuition fee to all students in SUCs.
The senator said the committee will hold several technical working groups to iron out and consolidate provisions of the different measures and come up with a version that will truly help poor students who want to finish college.
“I think we owe it to our students to go through a tedious process to refine the bill. But I’m confident that we can get this done within a year,” said Sen. Bam.
During the hearing, several sectors pushed different methods to implement the measure. Some groups want to focus on courses that student will take while others believe that it should be based on the student’s capacity to pay.
Different groups also raised the possibility of expanding the measure’s coverage by providing poor students with miscellaneous expenses, transportation expenses and living expenses, in addition to a free tuition fee.
Aside from improving access to tertiary education, Sen. Bam said he will also work to improve the quality of education in SUCs.
“Just because we’re working on this bill, hindi ibig sabihin kakalimutan na natin ang kalidad. We have to ensure quality as well as access,” said Sen. Bam.
“Kung itutulak mo ito (free tuition fee) plus magsabay ka ng intervention sa kalidad, mas gaganda ang quality ng SUCs,” he added.


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