CHED looking into suicide of CSU student
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) is looking into the suicide of Cagayan State University (CSU) student Rosanna Sanfuego.
Rappler learned on Wednesday, March 4, that Commissioner Alex Brillantes Jr, CHED chair designate of CSU, has been tasked to look into what really happened.
According to police, 16-year-old Sanfuego hanged herself at home in Abulug town in Cagayan. Hours before her body was found on February 25, she texted her brother about her problems: she was not able to pay her school fees, so she didn't take the midterm examinations.
Authorities say depression may have been the probable cause of the suicide.
The incident comes just as the university is studying the reimposition of tuition fees after observing a "no tuition fee policy" since 2009. But even without a tuition fee, the cost of school fees still range from P2,000 ($45.37)* to P4,000 ($90.74). (READ: 'Students can’t afford reimposition of CSU tuition fees')
In a separate statement, CHED said CSU has already extended "financial, spiritual, and moral support" to Sanfuego's family. The incident will be taken up as a priority agenda at the CSU board meeting on Friday, March 6.
NYC to CHED: Be more proactive
The National Youth Commission (NYC) on Wednesday slammed CHED for not having in place systems for violations of guidelines on increase in tuition and other school fees.
Youth groups estimated 400 colleges and universities may raise their tuition fees for academic year 2015-2016, but CHED said this is "highly improbable."
"Filipino students need an institution that truly regulates unbridled school fees," NYC Chairperson Gio Tingson said in a statement.
The government’s chief policy-making arm for youth concerns also lamented there is no clear mechanism on how students can oppose any increase, and protection when students are denied school services because of unpaid school fees.
For now, Tingson said, students can report violations of student rights to www.strawdesk.com.
NYC will coordinate with CSU to resolve the issue, and with Sanfuego’s family to extend assistance. As it begins dialogue on tuition fee guidelines, NYC said Sanfuego’s death is a wake-up call to CHED.
"We urge CHED to work more proactively in pushing for the welfare of the students. We need their institution to realize that unbridled tuition and miscellaneous fees destroy the bright future of young Filipinos," Tingson said.
Since 2014, CHED has been developing with the Philippine Institute for Development Studies a framework that can help the commission decide on a reasonable, annual tuition increase rate. – Rappler.com
*US$1 = P44.08