The two Moroccan students set up a tent inside the university. Wissal, one of the students said: “As long as we are not heard, we will not move from here.”
Rabat – Mostapha and Wissal, two Moroccan students at Paris Nanterre University, started a hunger strike Monday to demand their “legitimate rights as students.”
Mostapha, 23, who arrived in France eight months ago, asked for free French language courses. Since the course is not free, the university asked him to pay €650 for one-semester of study. The second-year student of sociology said he could not afford the courses, French newspaper Le Parisien reported.
Mostapha had asked the university’s social assistance service for “help” but his request was refused.
Wissal, 20, also complained Nanterre University only offered her distance learning courses. Distant courses will not allow her to obtain a residence permit unlike campus-based learning, the newspaper explained.
“I think it’s calling into question my status as a student,” she said.
Supported by the Maghreb Students Union of France (UEMF) association, the two students set up a tent on the ground floor of the Pierre Grappin building at the university.
“We have nothing to lose. As long as we are not heard, we will not move from here,” Wissal asserted.
The university administration, according to Le Parisien, claimed to have “taken into account” the “special cases” of the two students and made every effort to find solutions.
Moroccans are a large part of the foreign student community in France.
Read Also: Moroccan Students March in Protests of GMT+1
During the 2017/2018 academic year, there were 39,855 Moroccan students enrolled in French higher education institutions, according to Campus France, the French Agency for the Promotion of Higher Education, Hospitality, and International Mobility.
In November last year, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced that his country is planning to increase tuition costs for international students, starting from the 2019-2020 academic year.
International students at French universities will pay higher enrollment fees, the equivalent of 30 percent of the total cost of their degrees.
Education syndicates in France heavily criticized the government move. They argued that many of the concerned international students are not as rich as the prime minister claimed. The reform, according to them, will “reinforce social precarity” for students.