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Taiwan students protest against tuition hikes

Taiwan students protest against tuition hikes

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Students occupied a public hearing in Taichung Tuesday to express their opposition to planned hikes in college tuition fees.
The National Academy for Educational Research, which organized the hearing, said the proposed hikes for students at state universities would not serve to fund private colleges, but be used to help low-income students instead.
Dozens of protesters from several universities showed up at the hearing in Taichung Tuesday with banners and placards calling for the cancellation of the fee hikes. They occupied the site for more than an hour, preventing the hearing from starting, reports said.
The students called for gradual reductions in tuition fees instead of the hikes planned by the government, while they also said there needed to be a tax on capital to fund the education system.
The reports about college tuition hikes came on top of high unemployment especially for young graduates, average wages at their lowest points in more than a decade and a refusal by the government to raise the basic minimum wage on January 1, despite a proposal by the Cabinet’s Council of Labor Affairs to do so.
The student protesters only left after having voiced their grievances to the public attending the event, reports said.
NAER Academic Vice President Wang Ru-jer told the hearing that traditionally, students at state university had faced lower costs than their colleagues at private institutions. An eventual hike in fees for the state education students would be translated into more resources that would benefit low-income students, he said.
Wang described the redistribution of educational resources as a matter of social justice and fairness, though he added that no decision had been made yet about the tuition hikes.
Parents’ organizations accused the government of only thinking about hikes and not about reductions. They called for a more transparent view of the funding of higher education as the only way to reduce confrontation between the authorities and the students.
Student organizations said they would organize more rallies and protests because the eventual tuition hikes would hit the poorest families the hardest. The victims would be the same people already suffering from lower wages and fears of a bankrupt pension insurance system, the activists said.


Updated : 2021-08-01 19:29 GMT+08:00