Students march in Rīga asking more money for higher education

On Monday about 1,000 students are protesting in Rīga, requesting more money for higher education.

LTV's Rīta Panorāma reported that on Monday morning about 300 students from the largest cities of Latvia were on Strēlnieku square to partake in a protest march.

Despite the predicted attendance being about 700, the number of students by the Saeima was about 1,000. The protestants include private university students as well as university staff.

Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola appeared, telling the students that the number of state-sponsored university students won't be reduced.

The march saw the students go from Strēlnieku square to the Saeima where the budget is being reviewed. Following that the students will go to the Finance Ministry building and the march will conclude by the Education Ministry.

"The aim of the march is showing our politicians that investments in higher education have to be made in the next few years. To date, higher education has been neglected due to lack of political will and insufficiently funded by the state, which has been pointed out by OECD and World Bank experts," said Maira Belova, head of the Latvian Students' Association.

The student protest follows the Education Ministry plan to cut the number of state-sponsored students in Latvia, directing the saved funds towards increasing university salaries. 

While Education Minister Kārlis Šadurskis (Unity) previously told Latvian Television's Rīta Panorāma that the funding to retain the number of students receiving state-paid tuition has been secured for next year but there are question marks around the funding for 2018 and 2019.

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