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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 June 3 - 9  > JCP opposes Education Ministry’s move to impose higher tuition on national university students
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2020 June 3 - 9 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

JCP opposes Education Ministry’s move to impose higher tuition on national university students

June 8, 2020

Japanese Communist Party lawmaker Hatano Kimie at a Lower House meeting in May demanded that the Education Ministry not allow its internal committee to discuss deregulation of tuitions for national universities in defiance of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic affecting college students.

The committee in question was set up under the ministry to discuss conversion of national universities into for-profit organizations. Members of the committee are also comprised in Prime Minister Abe’s advisory panels which have been promoting cuts in social welfare services and deregulation of public services.

National universities, as higher education institutions, play a role in guaranteeing the constitutional right to education. At present, in accordance with an Education Ministry ordinance, each national university can set the amount of annual tuition for undergraduate and graduate students at no more than 120% of the government-set standard tuition rate.

JCP Hatano on May 28 at the House of Representatives meeting of the Special Committee on Promotion of Science, Technology, and Innovation brought up the Education Ministry committee’s discussion on deregulation of national universities. Hatano said that what the committee seeks is to remove restrictions and give national universities a free hand in raising their tuitions as much they want. This may cause students to give up on learning due to financial reasons, Hatano added.

Hatano said the committee’s discussion on deregulation of university tuitions goes counter to the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights calling for taking concrete action toward achieving free tertiary education. She urged the ministry to remove the plan to deregulate national university tuitions from the committee’s agenda.

Head of a national council of postgraduate students Umegaki Midori referred to the fact that facing the COVID-19 financial distress, a signature-collection campaign for cuts in tuition fees was conducted in more than 200 universities. She said that the reason for this was that the burden of university tuition is heavy in Japan, and added, “To liberalize rules on national university tuitions will lead to a heavier burden due to increased tuition costs. This will jeopardize the right of graduate and undergraduate students to learn as well as their freedom to study.”

Past related articles:
> Students’ economic and learning situations adversely affected by COVID-19 [April 22, 2020]
> Opposition-drafted bill to halve students’ burden of tuition fees submitted [May 12, 2020]

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