Wants to introduce tuition
The student organization of the Conservative Party of Norway wants to introduce obligatory tuition in order to finance the increase of the amount of students in the coming years.
“More resources need to be included in the sector to maintain a certain level of quality in higher education. The last four years have shown us how there is a price on financing in the government, and has been under-financed. The institutions need a more stable source of income,” says Sigve Sand, the leader of the student organization of the Conservative Party.
The government’s responsibility to finance
Universitas, University of Oslo’s student newspaper, published an article on Sept. 2 stating that the next four years might bring 80,000 new students to Norwegian universities, and according to the student organization of the Conservative Party, a tuition fee is necessary for the institutions to afford this large number of students.
“The idea is that the tuition fee goes straight and uncut to the educational institution of each student. Today’s semester fee does not go to the institution, but to the student foundations that are responsible for the student welfare,” says Sand.
Sand will not estimate the tuition fee.
“We have not yet thought about the size of the tuition, but we do think it should be possible for the educational institutions to regulate it themselves,” says Sand.
The student organization of the Conservative party wants to maintain a social profile, and the tuition is supposed to be paid after the students complete their education.
“The amount will depend on what kind of income the student has. Those who earn a lot will need to pay more,” says Sand.
Ina Tandberg, leader of the Norwegian Association of Students StL, thinks this is an alarmingly bad suggestion that will lead to a unpractical consumer point of view on higher education.
“Such a solution will be terribly unfair for those students who go for shorter profession based educations, such as teacher and nurses. They will be left with a high study debt to pay back,” she says.
Tandberg points out that a characteristic with an egalitarian society such as the Norwegian one is that there are not great differences in income when it comes to education. A high education does not necessarily provide a person with a high income.
“Education should be among those tools that fight social differences. The suggestion from the student organization of the Conservative Party sounds like a copy of the student organization in Great Britain’s alternative solution to financing the education sector after they lost the battle for tuition. There, the introduction of a study fee has lead to less recruiting in the lower parts of society. And also, such a fee would not guarantee higher quality in the education,” says Tandberg.
Wants private university colleges
Sand says that the suggestion is indeed inspired by Great Britain. In addition to the study fee, he also wants more private university colleges.
Higher education is a governmental responsibility, but we think we need more private supplements, that can take part of the increase of the educational sector. More private university colleges can make out a positive participation to quality and diversity in higher education, says Sand.
Mari Helén Varøy, leader of the Student Parliament in Oslo, is not surprised by the suggestions from the student organization of the Conservative Party.
“The Student Parliament is against the introduction of tuition fees. Higher education is supposed to be free of charge. To finance the places of study we wish to increase the basic support from the government. We want to reduce the part that goes to result based financing, which is based on study points by an educational institution. Instead we want to increase the basic financing,” she says.
Tandberg also means that the main source to the financing of the educational sector should come from the state. According to her, the removal of the principle of free education is the same as removing the tools that make provide the same right for people to get an education.
“Higher education should be financed by public resources, and the state should provide a large number of students within higher education. There are private solutions for those who want to pay tuition fees.”