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MfD: Most Czech students do not mind tuition

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Prague, Sept 1 (CTK) – Four-fifths of some 1000 respondents, mostly university students, would not mind tuition at Czech higher education facilities, according to a poll conducted by the ISIC agency for daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) and released in its issue on the first school day yesterday.
In addition, almost a half of the polled could imagine payment for secondary-school studies as well.
Students’ attitude to tuition has considerably changed. In the past years, both students and the public were strongly opposed to it, mainly for ideological reasons.
Tomas Fertek, expert consultant of the EDUin organisation promoting education, says many students have changed their mind since they know the sum paid by those who exceed the standard length of university studies or complete their education while working.
This sum is about 10,000 crowns per semester, according to the type of school, MfD writes.
Current university students, addressed in the poll, would not mind monthly tuition. A quarter of them would accept between 1000 to 3000 crowns a month, while under 40 percent would prefer a lower sum , that is up to 500 or maximally 1000 crowns a month, and more than 12 percent would not mind a monthly tuition of over 3000 crowns, according to the poll.
MfD writes that a few years ago, a majority of university students were against tuition.
In an online poll of the Czech Students’ Union in 2012, only one-third of students agreed with tuition, and only one-fifth of the general public agreed with it in a CVVM poll from the same year. In 2009, 29 percent of Czechs supported the introduction of tuition.
The present students’ more accommodating stance on tuition, may be also caused by their satisfaction with their studies. Almost 79 percent of them say they study a field that they really find interesting, MfD writes.
A high number of university lecturers also support the introduction of tuition. However, similar to students, they would rather prefer lower sums, MfD adds.
Fertek also points out that tuition should have a motivation effect, but the sum should be kept symbolic.
“If we set the tuition level so as to solve the desperate financial situation of Czech schools, it would cause a strong barrier, we would create a fully selective school system. Not even the right wing wants it definitely,” Fertek told MfD.
However, the introduction of tuition is not planned soon. Last time, the centre-right government of Petr Necas (2010-2013) has it on its agenda.
More important changes should precede the introduction of tuition, such as a reform of the funding of schools and students, Fertek said.
“According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), we are at the bottom of the standings of both the share of GDP spent on the education system, and investments in a student… Tuition will not help us in it,” Fertek told MfD.
($1=24.098 crowns)

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