Aftermath of UP Manila Scholar’s Suicide

[Note: On March 15, University of the Philippines (UP) Manila freshman student Kristel Tejada committed suicide by drinking silver cleaner as non-payment of her tuition reportedly prompted her to take her own life. The blog below is a reaction to a March 18 PDI story entitled “UP Manila Chancellor: We are not ruthless and cold hearted”]

If you really mean what you say, Mr Chancellor, issue a public apology for an apparent flaw in UP’s systems and procedures, announce immediate changes to address the flaw and tender your resignation to take responsibility for the mess. This is the most honorable thing that you should do instead of trying to defend an untenable position – temporarily stopping students from attending classes unless overdue debts are paid. Yes, state educational institutions depend on state funding, the scale of which may not always cope with costs escalation. What should administrators of state educational institutions do in the face of this constant challenge? Be more resourceful and creative in generating revenue, not solely from tuition fees of students. Stop depending mainly on annual government funding and tuition fees of students. How to achieve this? Fairly easy! Turn unused or seldom-used premises inside campuses into shops (that will provide products & services to students) which can be rented out. Build new structures for commercial premises if funds for these can be found. Earn as much rental income as possible from these shops. Organize job fairs inside campuses towards the end of the school year or other periods and rent out stalls, classrooms and conference halls to different companies and charge rentals for them. In short, be more entrepreneurial to generate more revenue and achieve less and less reliance on government funding and students’ tuition fees.

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