Minister orders fees freeze after student protests

Following two student demonstrations in Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Minister for Higher and University Education Théophile Mbemba has ordered universities not to increase fees or other charges this academic year.

“I have given this instruction to the chief education officer, to directors of all higher and university institutions, and told them that, indeed, costs will not change,” he told Radio France Internationale or RFI.

“This means that even concerning related charges they will stay at what was planned last year. And so there will be no change.”

He added: “But at the same time, all institutions do not have the same outlooks, aren’t the same size, and don’t have the same problems. It might be there are other problems which will need decisions which must be taken in the interest of the institution. And for that I am firmly calling for consensus between partners.”

Mbemba also gave a warning to students to toe the line.

While the ministry was recommending there would be no increase, “I should also like students to understand that there might be problems for them in following the ‘royal route’ [of higher education], but that they must not demonstrate and disrupt public order.

“They must follow the authorised procedure and if they are not satisfied, they can go higher to the level of the ministry of higher and university education.”

* This article is drawn from local media. University World News cannot vouch for the accuracy of the original reports.