Nowadays, it seems that there is hardly anything normal in Normal because of the university’s fiscal and administrative crises.
Barely a month after the second semestral opening, the Philippine Normal University is faced with a new wave of the ill effects of the dwindling education budget. As if the merging of classes is not enough suffering for students and teachers alike, the demand to evaluate the large class experiment has not been met by Ogena’s administration.
As if adding insult to injury, faculty members with additional teaching loads have been left unguaranteed for quite some time. This has caused undue stress to the academic community. The temporary solution being offered by the PNU administration to this problem is touted as “emergency load.”
Unsettling even more is the inconsistency in fees being collected from the students. Take for example dsicrepant figures in the collection of athletics fee which amounts to Php 75 but some students were charged Php 100. And in some cases, late enrolees were charged the amount of Php 200 while some students were charged Php 250. Up untill now offices concerned have not released any explanation regarding this matter. Registration forms would attest to such irregularities.
It would be a disservice to the university to simply follow and accept Ogena’s logic that the PNU budget slash is due to the university’s zero research output. To start with, how can the university produce quality research output without enough and just government subsidy?
Administratively, PNU is wanting in the exercise of genuine democratic consultation and participation. Students are not regularly consulted as regards matters affecting their rights and welfare such as the merging of classes and the delay in specialization. Student organizations are also demanding for fiscal autonomy.
It is therefore imperative for students to strenghten our ranks in order to forward our just and democratic demands. More that just temporal solutions, it should be realized that the root of the problem is the fiscal and administrative crises of the university due to government subsidy reduction and the lack of political will of the PNU administration to address the real cause of the problem.
From last year 92 Million budget cut in PNU, it is but only enraging that the in the National Expenditure Program (or National Budget) for 2012, the administration of President Noynoy Aquino has proposed to slash the PNU budget by P12.8 million.
As a matter of fact, PNU’s proposed budget for 2012 is P754.9 million, but the Department of Budget and Management approved and proposed for PNU only P284.9 million.
This issue concerns not only PNU students, but also faculty members, administrative workers and other employees of the university, since the slash in PNU’s budget is in its maintenance and other operating expenditures, personnel services (including salaries and promotion), research and instruction, and other such matters. As if adding insult to injury, the national government has proposed a zero budget for capital outlay for PNU and all State Universities and Colleges (SUC). This means that there is no fund allocation for the construction of buildings and other facilities.
PNU has been the threshold of new ideas and strategy in developing and upholding the education system of the Philippines, but the bottom line is, can we brag to the world that we have met the so-called “World Class” standard that the famous universities are claiming for?
The history of budget cuts has seen how SUCs have been pushed to devise ways to augment their meager budget. These usually take on the form of tuition increases, merging of classes, imposition of miscellaneous and exorbitant fees, and collaboration with private entities and corporations.
The history of fiscal and administrative crises has shown us that it is only through our collective, millitant and vigilant actions that we can achieve our common goal and aspiration for the university and the country.
We vow to exercise all possible forms of action, from student parliamentary in the university to the parliamentary of the streets.
We vow to intensify the fight for higher state subsidy to PNU, SUCs, education and health sectors, and to the other basic social services.
Released by: Office of the Student Regent and PNU Student Government