Taiwan protesters oppose approval of university tuition fee hike

Taiwan protesters oppose approval of university tuition fee hike
Arrested high school students sit inside the Education Ministry after scuffling with police during a protest against changes to the school curriculum, in Taipei on July 24, 2015.

TAIPEI - A group of protesters yesterday staged a demonstration in front of the Ministry of Education (MOE) in Taipei to voice their anger over the MOE's decision to approve a tuition fee hike at a number of local universities.

A student representative of the alliance, surnamed Lee, told local media that the MOE should not let local schools increase tuition fees year after year.

"Some of these schools that the MOE approved tuition fee hikes for have an annual surplus up to NT$100 million (S$4 million) , while others have more than 40 per cent of their students coming from underprivileged families," Lee said.

These schools are not supposed to hike tuition fees, Lee said.

The alliance said the MOE did not take screening the tuition fee hike proposals seriously and the whole process was not transparent.

Instead of asking students to pay more, the alliance urged the MOE to impose taxes on local enterprises and have them pay more to support higher education.

In response, MOE Department of Higher Education section chief Lee Hui-min yesterday said the MOE did take the screening process seriously.

Twenty-three colleges applied for an increase in tuition fees this year.

The MOE formed a group of 15 scholars and specialists to audit those applications and decided to increase fees by between 1.89 per cent and 2.5 per cent for nine schools.

Ultimately, the ministry approved only nine out of 23 colleges, the MOE section chief said.

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