Germany Abolishes Tuition Fees, Should Canada Follow?

Purnoor T.

The youth of Germany rejoiced as all tuition fees were abolished recently. This not only applies to the citizens of Germany, but also to international students from all parts of the globe.

Germany is a strong advocate of universal post-secondary education that can be accessed by people of all socioeconomic ranks. Dorothee Stapelfeldt, President of the Hamburg Parliament said, “Tuition fees are socially unjust. They particularly discourage young people who do not have a traditional academic family background from taking up studies,” as quoted by The Times.

The movement to end tuition fees began in 2006, when the government, which was in charge of the education sector, started to reduce the tuition to a modest 1, 000 euros.

Many countries across the continent of Europe have also adopted this no tuition policy, aiming towards the betterment of the society as a whole through more stress-free means of receiving knowledge and post-secondary education. These countries include Scotland, France, Denmark, Finland and Norway.

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Although German students were successful in lobbying for an end to the tuition fees, will Canada be able to follow suit? Much of the cost of education has been directly taken from tax payers to help level and subsidize the fees of Canadian students, yet tuition has tripled in just the last 20 years.

Canadian ungraduated students currently pay an average of $5, 959 per school year, but this number is expected to rise to $7, 755 over the next four years due to projects announced by the CCPA (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives).

Over the years, Canadian students have participated in a number of demonstrations to lower tuition, but have largely been ignored. The largest of these protests took place in Quebec in 2012, where the students were able to shut down parts of the province, and capture the national spotlight during the elections.

Whether action is to be taken against the increasing tuition rates in Canada, is dependent on our nation’s students, and how they respond towards their rising education fees.

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