Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Death of a Dream

I have not been able to post anything on my blog for the past couple of days.  I don't have any excuse as it was my decision to go into a "blogging hiatus".  

A headline I read on a newspaper has caught my attention and has been bothering me ever since   "UP Student kills self over tuition", and beside that headline was a photo of  Kristel Tejada, 16 years old, freshman Behavioral Science student of UP Manila.  It saddened me to realize that while there are other students who would take their studies for granted, one would choose to end her life because her dreams of getting a college education was taken away from her.

News of her tragic death caused various protests among student leaders and militant groups, and has caused grief even to those who do not know her.  The university where she was enrolled has been criticized for their "no late payment policy" which was said to be the reason why she was forced to file a leave of absence for failure to pay for her tuition fees.  Her application for a student loan has also been denied because it was the middle of the semester.  These unfortunate circumstances must have pushed her to the edge and so decided to take away her life.  Ironically, days after her death, the said policy has been lifted but sadly it was too late for Kristel.

As much as I understand how important it is for any institution to have policies and guidelines, in my opinion being forced to take a leave from your classes over failure to pay for one's tuition is cruel and unfair.  For a person who has high hopes and dreams of getting a college degree to someday provide a better future for herself and her family, being deprived of the right to education must have been to painful to bear.

One columnist for a local newspaper wrote about Kristel's death, and on her article it seems to me that she was pointing out how the parents were in a way responsible for the death because of their financial situation and being unable to provide enough for the family.  I mean don't you think that is a bit unfair?  From what I've read, the parents even went as far as begging to the school officials, to no avail.  Yes, losing a job is a reality that we all should prepare for, but losing a child is something that we as parents will never be prepared for.  Not in this lifetime, not ever!

Quoting from the article, "The education of every child is the responsibility of the parent, not the state."  Yes I agree, but I think that it is also the state's obligation to make sure that those less privileged be given the equal opportunity to get a good college education, and that getting a good education would not just be a dream, but a reality.  Something they can look forward to and hope for.  I guess that is why we have state colleges and universities, so those students with limited finances or those coming from low income families can also enjoy the right to a good education.

Kristel's death is a tragic story.  But I hope that her death would not be in vain.  The university where she was enrolled are now looking into reforms in their enrollment policy.  Hopefully, the government would start to regulate tuition fee increases, and allocate more budgets for education.

I hope that your story, would not just be "another story".  I really hope that something good would come out of this tragedy, and that the lessons that your death taught us would not be forgotten,  May your soul rest in peace...

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