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New student protests against Tabachnyk’s draft law

11.01.2012    source:
The government’s draft bill on higher education has aroused a new wave of protest from students whose criticisms include popuist moves up till the elections, followed by measures which will cut out student grants for many, as wells moves fostering corruption

The poster is of Education Minister, Dmytro Tabchnyk (his nmae is similar to the word for tobacco, hence the picture)

The government’s draft bill on higher education has aroused a new wave of protest from students.  On Tuesday around 50 members of a picket burst in on a session of the Coordination Committee of heads of factions and of parliamentary committees in the Verkhovna Rada.  The guards began pushing them out, while they tried to hold their ground, asking to speak with the parliamentarians.

The student protests are prompted, for example, by the government’s promise to make student grants equal to the subsistence minimum.

The organizers assert that taking advantage of the public and university break, the Education Minister, Dmytro Tabachnyk is planning to agree the bill in a day, table it in parliament and get it passed.

According to student activist Mykhailo Lebid, the draft law contains some extremely serious failings. He is convinced that Tabachnyk’s promise to equate the student grant to the subsistence minimum is dangerous populism, and simple a pre-election present to get students to vote for the Party of the Regions. He warns that straight after the elections, there would be a Cabinet of Ministers resolution giving student grants only to those who have straight As, or As and Bs. Mykhailo says that Tabachnyk has said this himself, but everybody’s forgotten.

The protesters see other dangers in the new bill. These include annual increases in student fees for students on State contracts. The bill also proposes to take into consideration not only a person’s marks for ZNO [the external independent assessment], but also one’s leaving certificate and assessment from the institute. Experts believe that this can increase corruption when trying to get into an institute.

The Minister, however, asserts that the government’s bill means all of students’ needs and says that the amendments have been approved by a number of international organizations. He does not however specify, saying only that the bill has been discussed in all regional councils of deans of higher institutes, and “expert assessment in the Council of Europe, received a positive assessment”.

At present there are two alternative draft laws registered, one from the opposition (drawn up by Arseny Yatsenyuk and Lesya Orobets) and the other from Party of the Regions Deputy Yury Miroshnychenko.

From reports at Dzerkalo Tyzhnya and Radio Svoboda

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