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Students are protesting against the government decisions made behind closed doors

VILNIUS – Today the Seimas of Lithuania became a scene for theatrical protest, where students appealed to the Government decisions concerning higher education policy being made behind closed doors. Dainius Dikšaitis, President of the Lithuanian National Union of Students claims the newly adopted Government Programme does not fulfill the interests and needs of students.

“Lithuanian National Union of Students, representing higher education students in Lithuania, appealed to enhance the constructive dialogue with the stakeholders and decision-makers in field of higher education, both prior to the Seimas Elections and right after the announcement of results.

Nevertheless the activism and publically announced interest of students, the presented programme of the 16th Government, concerning the higher education reform, were adopted without any consultancy with the academic community of Lithuania and being opposite to the interest and needs of the latter. Our goal is to enhance the decision-making power of students no matter of political party being in the Government.” – says Dikšaitis.

Nearby the Seimas protesting students staged performance on the breakdown of relationship between the Government and the academic community – showing how large scissors carp links between students and stakeholders.

In addition, President and representatives of the Lithuanian National Union of Students participated in the Seimas Committee on Education, Science and Culture meeting, presenting comments and suggestions of the Lithuanian National Union of Students concerning the new Government’s Programme concerning the upcoming higher education policy changes. Here the attention is put towards lack of coherence between students’ point of view and interest on one hand, and possible conflict of the new Programme with the Constitution of Lithuania.

Within the student provided recommendations it’s been stated to implement the existing strategies for education and research instead of outlining new ones. As organisers of the protest stay, the intentions of the new Government to implement the long-term contract basis for training specialists as well to put public finances for higher education students only in case of governmental order in principle does not correlate with Lithuanian laws.

Dikšaitis continues: “This regulation may not fulfill the Consitution of Lithuania and the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court of Lithuania. In terms of the decision of the Constitutional Court of Lithuania dated back in March 20, 2008 it is been stated: The power to determine the real and the rational tuition fee – those, admitted to study at their own expense have to pay, and those, prepared to meet the public need for specialists in case of their learning being less than the statutory criteria of good learning have to pay – is obtained by public higher educational institutions”.

Lithuanian National Union of Students provided a list of exact recommendations so to edit the Programme in order to properly represent the interests and needs of students to the Seimas Committee on Education, Science and Culture.

“Committee listened to the presented proposals, though the Programme was okayed despite of suggestions and with no changes applied to the Programme. Proposals will be provided to the editors of the Programme as well, and we hope for student opinion and interest to be ensured”, concludes Dikšaitis.