Quebec students, government resume negotiations

Analysts have said Quebecers don`t compare their tuition rates to those in the US or Canada, but to those in European countries.

Ottawa: Quebec college and university students and the provincial government returned to the bargaining table on Monday in an attempt to put an end to a months-long dispute over tuition hikes that has led to clashes with police and mass arrests.

Student leaders said yesterday the tuition hike and an emergency law put in place to limit protests would have to be on the table. The two sides are meeting in Quebec City.

Students have called for a tuition freeze, but the government has ruled out that possibility.

The French-speaking province`s average undergraduate tuition -- USD 2,519 a year -- is the lowest in Canada, and the proposed hike -- USD 254 per year over seven years -- is tiny by US standards. But opponents consider the raise an affront to the philosophy of the 1960s reforms dubbed the Quiet Revolution that set Quebec apart not only from its US neighbour but from the rest of Canada.

Analysts have said Quebecers don`t compare their tuition rates to those in the US or English-speaking Canada, but to those in European countries, where higher education is free.

More than 2,500 students have been arrested since the demonstrations began, including nearly 700 this past Wednesday, but arrests are down markedly since.

PTI

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