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Step Up & Represent, Minister

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Step Up & Represent, Minister

Students today welcomed the Minister of Tertiary Education's comments recommending tertiary institutions keep potential fee increases "*as low as possible" (23 Sept).

However, OPSA challenges the sincerity of these comments without adequate state funding for tertiary institutions.

"We thank Maharey for his supportive comments, but they are mostly meaningless crocodile tears without adequate funding to actually keep fee increases low." said OPSA President, Rachel Dibble.

OPSA also questions the Minister's tacit permission to institutions to increase fees.

"This government promised to keep education affordable, but education is already too expensive - Mr. Maharey should be talking about fee decreases" said Ms. Dibble.

Mr. Maharey was invited by several students' associations to attend their institutions fee setting meetings over the next few months. However, Mr. Maharey declined these invitations claiming that fee setting was the responsibility of institutions.

"It is all very well for the government to claim institutions are responsible for setting fees, but at the end of the day it is government underfunding that ultimately dictates fee levels" said Ms Dibble.

OPSA calls for the government to take responsibility for the cost of tertiary education.

"Government should step up to the responsibility of setting tertiary fees nationally rather than passing the buck to the institutions." said Ms Dibble.



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