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Taipei Students Protest Against New Univerisity Fee Decision

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Recently, a decision has been passed to give universities in Taipei the right to raise tuition fees for their graduate programs. In response, students took to the streets in protest outside the Ministry of Education in Taipei. Students worry that universities will use this flexibility to unfairly raise tuitions too high.

One student expressed her resentment towards the decision. Chang Wen-Hua, a graduate student at Taipei National University of the Arts, stated that the government should tax businesses to pay off universities’ financial gaps, instead of putting the burden on students. Students are already suffering from cuts in research funds. Raising tuition costs will only make it harder for students to attend school unless they find other ways of making money. “We would become academic slave workers,” she said.

Another student expressed similar worries. “With little budget and higher tuition fees, we will be forced to work multiple part-time jobs. How are we supposed to focus on our studies and do our research?” asked Wang Chun-fang.

Department of Higher Education deputy director Ma Hsiang-Ping responded to the protest by announcing the unlikelihood of changing the new decision. Since graduate school is a discretionary education, the responsibility of the cost should be shared between the government, universities, and students.

However, Ma reassured students that tuition fees are not likely to suddenly rise. With the sharp decline in a number of children each year, there is fierce competition among universities to admit more students. To do this, universities will need to keep the cost reasonable to attract more students.

Creative Commons Love: IOE London on Flickr.com

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