[QODLink]
Americas
Canada student fee protests continue
Three-month strike that has at times paralysed Quebec persists despite government offers of compromise.
Last Modified: 28 Apr 2012 07:51

Tens of thousands of students in the Canadian province of Quebec have been protesting against a government move to raise higher education costs by 50 per cent over five years.

The demonstrations involving 181 student groups representing more than 170,000 students have sustained class boycotts, demonstrations and occasional angry confrontations with police for three months.

Jean Charest, Quebec's premier, offered on Friday to stretch out the planned tuition hike over seven years instead of five in a bid to appease the students.

The proposal would see students pay $255 extra per year instead of the $325 under his previous proposal, but the total would rise from $1,625 to $1,785.

"We are going to substantially increase the financing of our universities and we're going to support our students," Charest said, urging them to return to classes.

Beauchamp said: "I don't believe that 50 cents a day [the cost of the tuition increase] should compromise their chances of getting diplomas this spring."

Student persistence

The government's plan to raise school fees to almost $4,000 as part of efforts to rein in a budget deficit provoked a massive backlash and a student walkout.

Police have tried, apparently unsuccessfully, to break up nightly protests.

After talks with the government broke down this week, students took to the streets, resulting in clashes with police and smashed storefronts in Montreal.

The Montreal Gazette newspaper reported that police arrested at least 85 protesters during a demonstration of an estimated 10,000 students late on Wednesday.

Local media reported that police used batons, pepper spray and percussion bombs to control the crowd.

Tuition in Quebec had been frozen since the province's Quiet Revolution of the 1960s in a bid to boost access to post-secondary education, but it began to creep up in the 1990s.

The government has also proposed adding $39m in bursaries and linking student loan repayment to income after graduation.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
People
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Featured
Pro-Russia leaders' election in Ukraine's east shows bloody conflict is far from a peaceful resolution.
Critics challenge Canberra's move to refuse visas for West Africans in Ebola-besieged countries.
A key issue for Hispanics is the estimated 11.3 million immigrants in the US without papers who face deportation.
In 1970, only two mosques existed in the country, but now more than 200 offer sanctuary to Japan's Muslims.
Hundreds of the country's reporters eke out a living by finding news - then burying it for a price.