european students’ union

BM71: No tuition fees in Germany

December 8, 2016

No tuition fees in Germany

ESU stands with the fzs and its partners against the plans of federal state government of Baden-Württemberg to reintroduce tuition fees. The plans of minister of science Theresia Bauer to levy fees on all students from outside of the European Union (1500€/semester), on students striving for a second degree (650€/semester) and on all students in general (70€, up from 60€/semester) are not in the best interest of the students. The fact that the reasoning behind the introduction of the fees is not to finance higher education, but simply to curb the budget deficit is particularly damming. These goals stand in the way of fair and inclusive education in several ways. Education is a human right and should be accessible to everyone, be it at higher education institutions or otherwise. A students’ financial means should not be decisive for what educational path is chosen, but the interests of the student. The reintroduction of tuition fees contradicts all of this. Instead of cherishing education as a collective investment of everyone into the future, education is treated as a commodity. This is especially dangerous to any democracy, founded on the principle of an educated and emancipated population. The fact that “non-EU-Citizens” should be the ones paying the highest fees simply is discrimination. No human chooses where they are born. To use the nationality of individuals as criteria to determine if one has access to higher education deserves condemnation. The thought behind this fee is simple: rich foreigners are welcome, everyone else is not. This not only goes against article 13 of the UN social charter, where member states have pledged to reduce financial obstacles to education, not to raise them. Equal access and chances to education, not depending on the background and financial capital of one’s parents, is one of the foundations of a fair and democratic society. It is also absurd to force people to pay for a second degree. Additional degrees are often used to educate oneself further and be enabled to face the challenges of our ever changing and digitalizing world. To bar people without the financial resources from furthering their knowledge is a disaster in a world, where more and more people are struggling to meet ends. And while 10€ more per semester for everyone may not sound a lot, it adds up until graduation. Additionally, it is not a far step from raising fees for “administration”, which is the official reasoning, to once again simply impose general tuition fees. In total, we stand against the (re-)introduction of any kind of tuition fees for anyone. Students are not the government’s piggy bank, which it can smash when it wants to cut the deficit. Education is a human right and must remain free and accessible for everyone!

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