28 Oct 2002

Fiji students rally over hikes in charges

4:20 pm on 28 October 2002

More than 500 students staged a protest at the University of the South Pacific today to petition against sharp increases in fees to be imposed from next year.

The university plans to introduce a differential increase for courses in high demand with fees for computer science going up by 35 per cent, accounting by 30 per cent, economics by 25 per cent, public administration by 20 per cent and law by 15 per cent.

About 100 courses will be affected by the increases.

Radio Fiji quotes the president of the USP Students Association, Ashish Prakash, as saying the drastic increases will impact heavily on students studying privately.

The vice-chancellor of the USP, Savenaca Siwatibau, told the students that grants from the governments of member countries are decreasing as they face financial difficulties.

Mr Siwatibau said these countries have agreed to only half of the 3 per cent increase the USP had asked for and it was necessary to balance the university's cash flow which he said was in a poor state.