Students stage sit-in at University of Helsinki's main building
13.3.2009 at 16:19
About 300 students began an overnight sit-in at the main building of the University of Helsinki on Friday after a day of protests across the country against a bill to amend the 1997 Universities Act.
Students had staged a sit-in at the university's main administration building in February.
If passed into law the bill would render universities legal persons independent of the state, paving the way for private funding. Universities would also be allowed to charge tuition fees on a trial basis from master's programme students hailing from outside the European Union and the European Economic Area.
Students Protest Proposed University Legislation
published yesterday 10:08 AM
Students around Finland are organising demonstrations today, Friday, against a bill for a new university law. Up to 2,000 participants are expected at the main event in Helsinki.
The marches are being organised by a network of university students and staff. In addition to Helsinki, events are planned in other cities, including Jyväskylä and Oulu.
On Wednesday, a petition with nearly 7,000 signatures was submitted to the Parliamentary Education Committee, opposing the bill, and calling for starting work on university reform from the beginning.
The proposed changes have been opposed by students and large numbers of university staff. A key issue is the fear that university would be increasingly business-driven.
The increased involvement of outsiders in the administration of Finnish universities has split the government coalition, with the Green League sharply criticising the moves.