Budget for higher education cut by P400-M

By Apples Jalandoni, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 12 2010 09:34 PM | Updated as of Oct 13 2010 10:30 AM

SUCs urged to diversify sources of income

MANILA, Philippines - The budget of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) for 2011 has been cut by P400 million.

From the original P23.8 billion, the agency's budget is now down to P23.4 billion.

According to CHED executive director Atty. Julito Vitriolo, the budget cut is due to the dwindling national government budget. This also means the allocation for State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) will be cut, though Vitriolo admitted the budget of each of the 111 SUCs nationwide is based on performance and enrollment.

But, he said, this should not prevent them from looking for other sources of income externally, like leasing land and other services to private companies, or selling products and technology. Some SUCs in the provinces also have more land, orchards or fishponds to lease in order to augment their income.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) estimates SUCs can generate P11 bilion both internally from tuition and other sources. The CHED also has an P800 milion Higher Education Development Fund for those who are most in need.

"It is important for the SUCs to be self-sufficient so that they will be more effective in their teaching," Vitriolo said.

Alternate sources

The University of the Philippines in Diliman, for example, which is already suffering from budget cuts, has already undertaken other means to raise funds.

The university has leased a portion of its land to the Ayala Corporation, for the UP-Ayala Technohub, and the university has allowed its faculty to work as consultants of the Ayala group to make up for their low salary.

According to UP Assistant Vice President for Public Affairs Wendell Capili, the budget is only enough for the salary of the teachers and non-teaching staff as well as basic expenses like light and electricity, but there is no money to upgrade facilities and laboratories that are crucial for students' learning.

Apart from leasing land, Capili said they might ask the alumni to help.

However, Capili stressed, "it is not the mandate of the university to make money. Our job is to educate and train students."

Capili said they don't want spend so much time and energy rasising funds, so he is appealing to the government to prioritize education.