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UJ students suspend protest after initial deal to gradually scrap tuition hike

By Suzanna Goussous - Mar 18,2016 - Last updated at Mar 18,2016

University of Jordan students participate in a protest on campus recently against an increase of tuition fees (Photo courtesy of Student Rally to Cancel Tuition Fee Hikes)

AMMAN —  After 19 days of protest, University of Jordan (UJ) students on Thursday decided to suspend their sit-in against the raise of tuition fees for the parallel and post-graduate programmes in response to a decision to gradually scrap the increase.

Alaa Hajjeh, one of the protesters, said the sit-in was suspended after UJ's board of trustees and the Higher Education Council met with students and decided to reduce the raise on the parallel programme tuition by 50 per cent this year, while the remaining percentage will be reduced over the next two years, with a 25 per cent drop each year.

Since the university decided to raise tuition fees some three years ago, students organised more than 30 protests to demand a total reversal of the decision.

Under the move, tuition fees for the parallel and post-graduate programmes went up by 100 to 180 per cent.

As for post-graduate programmes at UJ, the Higher Education Council has reached an initial agreement with protesters to reduce the raise on the fees by 50 per cent, Hajjeh told The Jordan Times.

The decision will be finalised on Monday, with students scheduled to meet with members of the board of trustees to discuss it further and reach a written agreement on the reduction of the raise, he added.

If an agreement does not materialise, students may resume their protest.

Since February 28, UJ students had been participating in an ongoing protest on campus, with UJ alumni and students from other universities joining it in a show of support.

Hajjeh said that before the implementation of the raise on tuition fees, one credit hour for a business major student, for example, used to cost around JD30 in the parallel programme. But the hike raised it to JD60.

After the decision to reduce the raise, the credit hour for business major students will now cost around JD45, he noted.

The parallel programme is allocated for students whose General Secondary Education Certificate Examination scores do not qualify them to study specific subjects at public universities through the regular programme.

Tuition fees for this programme are higher than regular programmes.

Students enrolled in the parallel and post-graduate programmes said the response from the university is an “initial start” to follow up on the demands of the protesters. 

The demonstrators on Thursday organised rallies from different faculties and departments on campus to announce the decision of the reversal of the hikes.

“This protest succeeded because we united from all backgrounds and parties to ask for our basic rights as students,” student Yaser Qarqash told The Jordan Times.

Students said the accusations that have been levelled at them since they started protesting were “proven wrong” and that “the younger generation in Jordan can achieve anything”.

 

University officials were not available to comment on the protest or the decision to lower the increase on the fees despite several attempts by The Jordan Times; however, in a statement released on Wednesday, the university said reducing the raise on tuition fees costs some JD10 million.  

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