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Students denounce looming tuition hike

UST, one of the six major universities nationwide set to raise tuition and other fees, is expected to have four to six-percent increase according to the National Union of Students of the Philippines.

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Jeric Mataga/TomasinoWeb

Progressive students from different universities around Metro Manila gathered in Mendiola to express their strife with the possible tuition increase on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020.

The students found the possible increase in tuition unjust and unnecessary. The hike is expected to be effective next school year, 2020-2021.

“Kung tayo mismong mga estudyanteng nag-aaral sa private school ay umaaray na sa pagtataas ng tuition fee, what more ‘yung mga anak ng magsasaka at ibang mga manggagawa,” said Hannah Rondilla, a student from UST.

Hannah Rondillla from UST | Jeric Mataga/TomasinoWeb

UST, one of the six major universities nationwide set to raise tuition and other fees, is expected to have four to six-percent increase according to the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP).

NUSP President Raoul Manuel said that families who are suffering to make both ends meet due to high prices of needs are extra-suffering because of tuition increase.

“Sa halip na maging sensitive tayo dun sa kalagayan ng Filipino families na mas bumaba na ‘yung purchasing power. Ito mismo, yung inflation, ay ginagamit ni President Duterte as justification para magtaas pa lalo ng fees ang mga private schools,” said Manuel.

National Union of Students of The Philippines President Raoul Manuel | Louise Lampa/TomasinoWeb

“Maraming kabataan nanaman ang matutulak maging working-student, or worse, mag-dropout na lamang,” Manuel added.

Maki Mercolita, a student of the Univesity of the Philippines, can still feel the increase of fees inside the state university.

“Ganun din, sa kabilang banda ay nararanasan din siya sa loob ng UP, Kasi sa UP nananatili pa rin yung mga other school fees,” Mercolita said.

An indirect violation of basic rights

Kabataan party-list rep. Sarah Elago told TomasinoWeb that the increase of tuition and other fees does not consider the basic principle of the right to education.

“Sa ngayon ang average tuition fee ay nasa P150,000 per year, pero yung average income ng isang pamilya ay nasa P200,000 lang,” she said

She continued that students from families who earn minimum wage are having troubles of meeting the expenses of education especially without the aid of scholarship.

Kabataan Party-list Rep. Sarah Elago | Louise Lampa/TomasinoWeb

Elago mentioned that privatization and commercialization of schools should be lifted to make education more affordable to every citizen.

“Hindi dapat ito pinagkakakitaan dahil ang edukasyon ay hindi isang negosyo,” Elago said.

According to her, the state should stand with its’ obligations and assure that everyone who wants to have access to education should be given the opportunity. Jose Ama Rosario

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Faculty of Pharmacy grieves over loss of biochemistry pillar

The UST Faculty of Pharmacy (FoP) expressed their grief and condolences over the passing of one of the pillars of the Biochemistry Department, Asst. Prof. Peter C. Torres, MSc. 

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Photo courtesy of the University website

The UST Faculty of Pharmacy (FoP) expressed their grief and condolences over the passing of one of the pillars of the Biochemistry Department, Asst. Prof. Peter C. Torres, MSc. 

“Years you have spent in educating and helping your students reach their dreams to become professionals. Although you have departed from us physically, you will remain in all of our hearts forever,” the FoP student council said yesterday, June 4, in their official Twitter account.

Torres is regarded by his students as an “inspirational professor.” He died on June 3 at the age of 64. 

“All of these years wouldn’t go to waste as you have helped your students reach their goals to become professionals and develop their character that would be beneficial in the real-life setting,” the student council also said in their official Facebook page.

Former students of Torres also flocked online to mourn and express their sadness over his death.

“[H]e’s one of the professors that makes for a very interesting panel [during] defense… [H]e has a lot of questions that can test your knowledge,” Biochemistry graduate Lara Lumayag said.

One of his achievements in the academe was his election as one of the directors in the Philippine Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in November 2017. He worked with the organization for two years. Jayziel Khim Budino

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UST partners with Smart telco, distributes free pocket wifi

The Connectivity Assistance Program will benefit both students and faculty members who “may be in need of the gadget that provides much-needed ability to communicate and stay connected for academic activities.”

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Aliah Danseco/TomasinoWeb

The University, in partnership with PLDT and Smart Communications, will provide 5,000 Smart Bro Data and Pocket WiFi with 8GB of free data to students for next academic year, the Office of Public Affairs (OPA) announced, Monday, June 1. 

“UST Rector Very Rev. Fr. Richard G. Ang, O.P. spearheaded the Connectivity Assistance Program that is consistent with the University’s to enable students to succeed in the educative process by ensuring accessibility and flexibility in learning,” the press release reads. 

University of Santo Tomas Press ReleaseUST partners with PLDT/Smart for free pocket Wi-Fi for students

UST Office of Public Affairsさんの投稿 2020年6月1日月曜日

The first ever partnership with the telecommunication company and academic institution was initiated by the Faculty of Engineering and Institute of Information and Computer Sciences.

The Connectivity Assistance Program will benefit both students and faculty members who “may be in need of the gadget that provides much-needed ability to communicate and stay connected for academic activities.”

The University Rector’s program was supported by the Faculty of Engineering dean Philipina A. Marcelo, Ph.D and Institute of Information and Computing Sciences director Jerralyn T. Padua.

Two thousand students, according to Dean Marcelo, have already signed up for the program.

The distribution of the first 500 units started on May 16 via courier services and Dean Marcelo herself within Metro Manila, Cainta, and Bulacan areas, OPA said.

Last April, Thomasians brought in social media their complaints regarding the resumption of online classes, specifically the issue of internet connection and equipment availability.

The Central Student Council also submitted a petition letter to relay to the school administration the concerns of the students. Jayziel Khim Budino

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UST implements ‘enriched virtual mode’ next academic year; extends financial assistance

Rector Rev. Fr. Richard Ang, O.P., in a letter dated May 26, announced that the first term of the academic year will be facilitated through “Enriched Virtual Mode” in which instructors will employ both online and offline remote learning strategies.

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Aliah Danseco/TomasinoWeb

The Office of the Rector urged everyone “to respond, cope, survive, and persist” as it sets to proceed with the upcoming Academic Year 2020-2021 through remote online and offline delivery of classes, Wednesday, May 27.

Rector Rev. Fr. Richard Ang, O.P., in a letter dated May 26, announced that the first term of the academic year will be facilitated through “Enriched Virtual Mode” in which instructors will employ both online and offline remote learning strategies.

“The University shall implement a mode of instruction rooted in the principles of communion and encounter, one that promotes dialogue and ensures accessibility and flexibility in learning,” Ang said regarding the plan to continue learning with the new guidelines.

“We shall optimize the expertise of our faculty, not only through team-teaching approaches, but through carefully planned combinations,” the letter also read.

Face-to-face mode of instruction will only be done once “allowed by government regulations, and shall be done with the strict implementation of public health standards for everyone’s safety.”

Financial assistance

The University further elaborated the plans to allocate financial assistance to its students struggling to continue education with school fees.

The letter stated: “[I]n consideration of the adverse economic impact… the University has taken the initiative to provide our students financial assistance.”

Some of the plans for the upcoming academic year include no tuition fee increase, adjustment of the table of fees, continuation of the scholarships granted during the second term of A.Y. 2019-2020 until the end of the year, and implementation of staggered payment schemes, among others.

Academic Year 2020-2021 is set to start this August 13, with the first term ending on December 18.

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