When I was confronted with official tuition, the academic thing, I could see no relationship whatever between that and the music I'd been writing since I was 11. - Harrison Birtwistle
March is just around the corner and that means something to parents with school level children; A respite in bringing their kids back and forth from school to home and a lull in school expenditures and allowances. But for those with graduating children, it will be a momentous moment. A major event for both the graduates and parents; For the graduates, a much coveted diploma for their 4 or 5 years of mental labor, for the parents a fruit of their sacrifices. My brother is one proud parent; my niece is graduating this March. But in spite of this, my brother lamented on the way the school is treating its graduating students. As if they are trying to squeeze some more expenditures before letting them go.
At the very start, when my brother was scouting for a good school for his daughter, he has to make some choices; safety and quality of education. Manila is out of the question since we have a “girl” and we don’t have relatives there. Iloilo was the best bet. It’s near our province, just a 3 hour ride from our town, and my sister is living in Iloilo City. They’d also opted for St. Paul University because of its reputation.
St. Paul’s tuition fee is no laughing matter but its standard of education is at par with the other exclusive schools in Manila. My only take is the way they charge “miscellaneous” expenses. It includes “concert” tickets wither students attend it or not. School uniforms, including shoes, are to be purchased exclusively at the school’s store. Only their socks, panties and brasseries could be bought else where. But what really got my goat is when a teacher from a minor subject (Rizal) suggested that students must undertake an “affiliation” trip. It’s not compulsory, but their teacher hinted that, if they can’t go, it may hamper their commencement. This ominous suggestion is synonymous to “No affiliation, no graduation”.
“Affiliation” is a 3-day field trip to Manila. Past “field-trippers” said it’s a student’s orientation of important sites in Manila including popular malls and tourist spots. In other words “mag lalamyerda sila sa Maynila”. I’m not saying that St. Paul has a cut in the airline fare of these students. I’m not saying that St. Paul has a percentage from whatever hotel they’re going to stay there. All I’m saying is the P10,000 (excluding food and allowance) each student has to chip-in could be spend on other things like a college ring, a pin, clothes and toga rental fee and a “blow-out” in the restaurant for the whole family, instead of going on a tour which is not related to their course or their minor subject for that matter.
For a catholic-run, nun-supervised institution, it saddened me that these “nuns” has no sympathy for the flight of parents who has to shoulder these expenses. They are in a world of their own. Not caring that there is a financial crisis going on. That everybody is tightening their belt in order to save for their children’s education. They have a mentality similar to that of the friars of the Spanish colonial era.