“Faced with the difficulty of not being able to pay her tuition, a 16-year old female freshman at the University of the Philippines-Manila has reportedly poisoned herself.” - Newsdesk Asia
Media is now reporting her death was linked to the university policy that forced her to take a leave of absence when she was unable to pay her tuition.
UP has a long history of providing underprivileged students with a chance of bettering themselves through higher education.
Whether the policy is a reason for her suicide or not, policies such as the "no late payment" and "forced leave of absence" are anathema to the UP system's nature as a "university of the people."
I have always known the University of the Philippines system as committed to producing "scholars of the people." It was drummed into the minds of graduates that upon leaving the halls of the university, it behooves them to pay back their education through service to the country since the system is funded by taxpayers' money.
According to media reports, the administration of UP Manila ordered professors to bar students who have not paid school fees from attending classes. It also threatened students who have not paid the fees with forcible leave of absences if they are unable to settle their dues.
Please join me and call on UP Manila to provide better support to students under financial distress and to not bar them from classes if payments are late.