In the field of intense reflection and controversy, the issue of tuition fees for foreign language programs in public universities is evolving, while a similar issue was developed today at the meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Education and on the issue of student admission.
The discussion on the regulations concerning the operation of English-language study programs continued today in the Education Committee of the Parliament, with the participation of the representatives of the public and private universities of the country. Private universities have expressed concern about competition that may arise from the operation of foreign language programs in public, calling for safety valves with the calculation of tuition fees on the basis of real costs, as well as admission criteria.
DISY MP, Giorgos Karoullas, in his statements after the meeting said that “the internationalization of public universities, ie the offer of undergraduate programs at foreign levels other than those provided by the Constitution, is a necessity for the benefit of higher education.” . He added, however, that the operation of private universities should also be ensured, “which for years have been offering programs in foreign languages, therefore research is being conducted through them and jobs are being given”. “The equation we have in front of us is complex,” he concluded, saying that a lot of study is needed to satisfy all those involved.
The reaction was strong during the meeting on behalf of the AKEL MP, Andreas Kafkalias, especially after the position of the representative of the Competition Commission regarding “cost orientation” regarding the tuition fees of foreign language programs of public universities. “Even in the most neoliberal dreams, the debate would not take this direction,” he said.
Mr. Kafkalias, in his statements after the meeting, stressed that AKEL is in favor of the introduction of English-language programs, as they will contribute to the development of public universities, by attracting foreign students and by connecting them with foreign universities. He emphasized that the decision was not a signal of a formal antitrust inquiry into the government, but said that “public universities should operate as joint ventures, survive market conditions and general product marketing rules, and should not have a comparative advantage over the competition”.
He also considers the possibility of abolishing the Pancyprian Examinations as the main gateway to universities in English-language postgraduate programs to be an important problem. He explained that such a development “would mark the beginning of the end of free public university education”, while it would also hit the public school. With the amendments elaborated by AKEL, as the MP said, it seeks to maintain unchanged the right of Cypriots and Europeans to free education in public universities in Cyprus. The goal, he said, is to keep Pancyprian women as the main gateway to universities, while at the meeting of the Commission he proposed the use of the regulation concerning the Pancyprian exams, according to which a percentage of students can enter public universities through other criteria.
Asked about the amount of tuition fees, he said that these issues could not be determined in market terms, since it is an education provided by public institutions. “We have not hidden our frustration when we hear about fines being imposed on public universities if they do not apply the principle of cost orientation, a concept with which we strongly disagree,” he said. “Let the PSC check what needs to be done, especially with what the country is going through today, with the eruption of accuracy, and let it leave the public universities alone,” he added.
He clarified that private universities also have space and can contribute to the higher education of the place and that no one opposes their operation, but pointed out that “they are for-profit institutions and if we want to open the discussion for this chapter, we can we do it “.
In his statements after the end of the meeting, the DIKO MP, Chrysanthos Savvidis, said that the criteria for admission to English-language programs are interwoven with the preservation of the public school. “We suggest that candidates for English-language programs take the Pancyprian exams. “No European country has a different way of importing,” he explained. He argued that the cost of the programs should be based on the number of positions offered, as well as the number of academics who will be employed to offer courses.
He also clarified that “internationalization will be done with students from Europe or from third countries, not with the admission to these programs, students from private schools in Cyprus”. He added that attention should be paid to the costing of English-language programs in public universities, as, as he said, they can compete with those of private ones, if the tuition is very low. “The Ministry. Of Education and the University of Cyprus must present their proposals on these issues substantiated “, he concluded.
DIPA MP Alekos Tryfonidis said that by offering undergraduate and postgraduate programs in foreign languages and a high academic level, public universities aim to “upgrade the quality of education and attract foreign students, strengthening the international environment.” ». He stressed, however, that serious issues need to be addressed, such as admission criteria and the academic level of incoming foreign students. “At the same time we need to ensure the services and the level of education offered by private universities,” he added, adding that the development of both private universities and their further internationalization is greatly helping the country, as so many millions of foreigners are entering. students and jobs are given to Cypriot scientists and other staff at all levels.
and then return to a clean slate, for the further development of universities. “We have emphatically stressed that at the same time that excellence and quality are being promoted in public universities, we demand that the waste of public money be stopped through some projects that are being done,” he said, adding that “with these regulations we must not in the public service, municipalities and other organizations, where people who are released from criminal offenses return to their work because this was decided by the A or B council and at the same time other people who are released ask to be treated the same “. p>