The General Assembly of NFU unanimously supports the movement resisting school fees for international students from outside EU/EØS and Switzerland and applauds the strong opposition from the higher education sector and parts of the political parties. As a global development research community, we are deeply worried about the consequences these fees will have on the quality and relevance of education and research in Norway.
In a time when we lift the Sustainable Development Goals as a common global project, we need knowledge, perspectives and cooperation that include all regions of the world. School fees do not only affect individual students, but the entire higher education system in Norway. The quality and relevance of our education will be weakened, as we will miss important critical perspectives and be more narrow-minded. As researchers and educators within the field of global development, we know how teaching a truly international student group challenges all involved and leads to a unique co-creation of knowledge. In addition, relationships between students from different places have lasting effects and create bonds that lead to more cooperation in research and current or future workplaces. If these school fees become a reality, Norway will lose both in terms of quality of education and research, and international networks.
Furthermore, it is important to remember that in a world that is ever more connected, the plurality and diversity brought by students from different parts of the world can help Norway become a more rounded and inclusive country.
The introduction of these school fees for students from outside EU/EØS and Switzerland can be seen as discriminatory and cause students from other parts of the world to not feel welcomed, which in the long run will be detrimental to Norwegian educational environment.
Therefore, we at NFU stand in opposition of these fees.