A group of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers yesterday called for a freeze on college tuition fees for the next academic year.
The appeal came in the wake of emerging protests involving college students, teachers, parents and teachers’ unions against a recent government proposal urging a 10 percent increase in tuition fees for new students in state-run colleges next year and a 5 percent increase for all students in private colleges.
The Ministry of Education commissioned the ministry-affiliated National Academy for Educational Research to study the proposal five months ago.
Led by KMT Legislator Apollo Chen (陳學聖), the KMT lawmakers held a press conference to demand the ministry freeze tuition rates and respond positively to the demands of the protesters.
The ministry is planning to finalize its policy after completing consultation procedures at three public hearings by the end of this month.
At the first public hearing held in Taichung last week, a group of 50 students from seven universities and colleges protested, paralyzing the proceedings.
The second public hearing was scheduled for tomorrow in Taipei.
According to the ministry’s plans, the average tuition for new students in state-run colleges will rise by NT$3,000 and by up to NT$2,750 for students in private colleges starting in October next year.
At the press conference Chen said that Minister of Education Chiang Wei-ling (蔣偉寧) had agreed not to raise tuition fees and that Chiang would make the announcement soon.
When pressed by lawmakers during a question-and-answer session on the legislative floor, Chiang did not reveal his views on the issue, saying that the proposal aimed to establish a mechanism for colleges to adjust tuition fees on a regular basis to rationalize costs.
The ministry has not made a final decision on whether to increase tuition fees, he said.