Students protest against the rising cost of services and school fees in their university in northern Cyprus

Image source: Yeniduzen
Students of METU university in northern Cyprus has staged a protest against the increase in school fees and some services in the school. 

In these days when the economic crisis is getting deeper, university students studying in the country are also having a hard time due to the economic crisis.

In an exclusive report by the YENİDÜZEN, the protest took place on Wednesday at the school campus where the students talked about the problems they experienced. They complained that the school fees, transportation, house rents or dormitory rents could not be paid. They also signed a petition to solve the problem.

Speaking to YENİDÜZEN, the students said, “ There are many problems in our school. Our friends go to bed hungry. There is always a raise, but we never get a reward. We are treated as customers. "None of us has a room that prints money in our house."  

Expressing their thoughts to YENİDÜZEN after the event was organized, the students stated that they are children of middle-income families and that it is "very difficult" to receive education at these prices.

Mehmetali Kocabaşoğlu said: “Transportation, accommodation in the dormitory, food and beverage and education… There are many problems in our school”

“I have been studying at this university since 2018, we expected some changes due to the recent economic crisis in our country. But the announced amounts are much higher than our estimates. At this stage, the students at the school are completely considered as 'Customers'. We are so tired of this situation. The problem is not just about the fees. There are many problems in our school, from transportation to accommodation, from food and beverage to education. Even the washing machines in the dormitories do not work. We pay 40 TL per meal for meals served to students in dormitories. In other words, if we eat two meals a day, we only give 80 TL to our food. It has been announced that the dormitory fee, which was 15,600 TL in the current period, will be 28,600 TL in the next period. It was also announced that the school fees will be 65,000TL next year. Now we are focused on how we will spend our day. Currently, middle-class families cannot afford these prices. We want to put a stop to this now.”

Halil Altınmiş said: “It is not clear whether we are students or customers”

“I came to this school in 2018. We came to this campus with certain advantages. Of course, it has differences with METU in Ankara, but when we look at it, the advantages we have gained have decreased day by day. We were able to hold the festival this year as a result of the efforts of the students and it lasted for two days. There are serious problems that need to be resolved regarding our basic needs. Even the air conditioners in the school do not turn on easily. It can be opened with the efforts of the students. Many of our friends cannot choose to work in the library. There are also posts about the teacher, but their places are not filled. In transportation, we can pay 14 TL round trip from the Kalkanli campus to the center of Guzelyurt, and a single private company undertakes the transportation. We have said that the school should have its own bus since 2018, but these warnings were unfortunately ignored. While students of other schools have free transportation, we pay big money and we are not happy about it. It is not clear whether we are students or customers. Since there is such an increase in prices, the services and education provided to us should also increase.”

Seval Özen said: “Neither our families nor we have the strength to endure”

“I entered this school in 2018. I am staying in the 1st dormitory and the price of the dormitory I am staying in has almost doubled. While I am paying 8 thousand TL this year, I will pay 14 thousand TL next term. So, will the tuition and services I receive increase as these prices rise? No… While the problems that have existed for years are not solved, how will the new problems be solved now? As a child of a middle-income family, I am currently unable to afford the increases for transportation, food and beverage, dormitory and education. Since I can't afford it, I'm considering applying for a horizontal transfer in August. This is the case this year, but it is not certain that it will be better next year. When we entered this school in 2018, we did not know that this would happen to us. Someone needs to hear us now, neither our families nor we have the strength to endure.” 

Deniz Şimşirler said: “We always get a raise, but we never get it in return”

“We certainly don't know exactly what kind of evaluation our school administration makes in these hikes. In this situation, I think that it is our most natural right to question this when an increase of 15 thousand TL has been made. In fact, we also demand transparency here. Because nothing is shared with us. At the very least, they need to come out and explain so that we can know where we are paying… They always get a raise, but we never get paid. The problems experienced in the dormitories, especially in transportation, and the health services provided to us are always incomplete and irregular. The distance between Güzelyurt and Kalkanli is very short, but we pay 14 TL for a round trip. If we calculate it as this month, if this road is used every day, it corresponds to around 450 TL in a month. This is just for transportation.”

Berfin Tasasız said: “There is no raise in this way. Our families allow us to study by cutting them from tooth to toe.”

“I am a second year student at METU. When I first came, the tuition fees were increased again, but not this high. Most of the students here are always from middle-income families, so it is really difficult to meet these amounts. While I used to pay 15 thousand TL for the dormitory, now I will have to pay 28 thousand TL. Likewise, tuition fees are the same. In these days we live in, of course, in this economic crisis, like everything that can be increased, a raise should be made at reasonable levels. It should not be forgotten that our families also allow us to study by cutting them from tooth to toe.

Cemay Şemmedi said: “Students are looked after as if they are customers to make a profit”

“Most people who study here are from middle-class families, and these prices are not affordable for middle-class people. We can say that our school is not pro-student and students are looked after as if they are a customer for profit. I am of Cypriot origin and unfortunately I do not see a future in this country.”

Mehmet Kadri Dinç said: “Unfortunately, we have many friends who go to bed hungry and sleep”

“I entered this school in 2018. There were also hikes when we arrived, but the hikes were not that high. Transportation, the service provided to us and food are our main problems. However, these problems continue to escalate rather than being resolved. The action we took was to prevent any of our friends from going to bed hungry. But unfortunately, we have many friends who go to bed hungry and sleep. I don't think of myself. I have one year left. I will finish and return to my country, but my friends who will come after me will have very difficult days. This is clear…”

Eylül Sevcen Eken said: “None of us has a room that prints money”

“I think that the recent hikes were made without thinking of our families or us students. Not everyone comes here on scholarship. We also have friends who had to drop out of school due to such a high raise. While we are waiting to be embraced here, unfortunately we are pushed and this situation has started to bother us a lot. We love our school, but we want attention and our school to embrace us. When they started school, they said to us, 'You are students who can change the world, you are from METU, you can change the world'. The school gave us this confidence. We set out today with this confidence: 'Yes, we can change the world. Yes, we say, 'We can change these price hikes as well. None of us has a room that mints money in our house.”  

Mertcan Çavuşoğlu said: “Our family is trying so hard to get us educated”

“I have been studying here on a 50% scholarship since 2019. The environment in 2019 does not currently exist. This is a well-known fact... But the school says that there is an increase in CPI rates, but we see that the rising amounts are not suitable for this. Since our school is at a point where it will not return economically at the moment, a certain contraction must be made. The financial statement is also not disclosed. We don't even know where our money goes. If we are giving these money, I think we need to be transparent. We are not rich people's children. Our family is trying so hard to get us educated. Since I have difficulty in meeting these amounts, I am considering taking advantage of my right of transfer.”

İlayda Yağmur Karadağ said: “If I were to start from scratch, I would definitely not come here to study”

“Our problems are actually very clear and everyone is complaining about the same problems… There is a huge difference between the amount we pay and the education and services we receive. While these prices do not satisfy us this year, we will have to pay twice as much next year. We have many problems and none of them are solved. I am currently a 3rd year student and I have one year left. I don't intend to take advantage of the horizontal transfer, but if I were to start from scratch, I definitely wouldn't come here to study.”

Source: Yeniduzen

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