April 24, 2009

News: Tuition free schools to remain !

News: Tuition free schools to remain !

The number of international students studying in tuition free schools has grown rapidly over the years, primarily due to two factors.

The Reasons

First, because the countries offering these schools are committed to universal English in its population, there are lots of academic offerings in English. International students can find English language programs in all of the most popular disciplines -- which in Sweden include the social sciences, business or law (34.8 % of international students in Sweden); engineering, manufacturing and construction (17.9%); humanities and arts (17.6%); sciences (12.4%); health and welfare (9.1%); and education (4.8%).

Second, international students pay no tuition whatsoever in these countries! Using Sweden for example, just like Swedish students, international students admitted to Swedish undergraduate or masters programs can attend without paying any tuition. This is reflective of an overall commitment to higher education -- Sweden ranked third in spending worldwide on tertiary education at 2.2% of GDP, behind only Denmark and Norway (in 2006).

The Threat

However, this great deal for students from all over the world is being threatened. The Swedish government has proposed charging tuition for all international students except those from EU countries, since in their opinion, “Our primary argument is that it is unwise of a country not to benefit from a payment system which obviously exists. Why should these students pay money to American or British universities, but not to Swedish [ones]?” Leijonborg explained to SvD. Read story: http://www.thelocal.se/12594/20080623/.

The Truth

Charging tuition fees from international students is a good source of revenue for most countries like the UK where exorbitant fees are charged from students. Although this brings in good money for the governments, it is very tasking, daunting and most unfair on the international students, most of whom are from poor or developing regions of the world.

The Struggle within

However, Swedish universities and unions have rallied together to oppose and object to the government's proposal. Academics are concerned that proposals to introduce tuition fees for international students at Sweden’s universities could discourage gifted foreign students from coming to study in Sweden. This is true, very true. Read story here: http://www.thelocal.se/article.php?ID=5337&date=20061027.

Our Stand

'Study & Scholarships' is of the opinion that giving in to such proposals from the government would definitely cause the remaining 'tuition-free' countries to commence the pursuance of similar policies which definitely would spell doom to the dreams of international education for many international students, especially those from Africa and other developing nations.

These countries are strong and have the financial 'muscle' as it were to shoulder this. Tuition free schools in Sweden, in Norway, in Finland, and elsewhere should be made to remain. We therefore strongly believe the fight by Swedish universities and unions against the very unpopular Swedish government's plan to be most noble and most honorable indeed.

Our Hope

Our hope and that of every international student hoping to apply to one of the tuition free universities in Sweden (or universities in other 'tuition free school' countries) for the next academic session will be that Sweden maintains the status quo, and remain true to its commitment to international education, as affordable international education programs via non-payment of tuition, no matter how few are available, provide hope and opportunity to students that couldn't otherwise afford to go abroad to other countries.

Article based on information from http://www.studyinsweden.se AND http://www.thelocal.se

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