In some countries trade unions and students’ unions are struggling against the introduction of tuition fees, in other countries they are struggling against an increase of the fees. In October 2007and in cooperation with the National Union of Students in Germany (FZS), the German Education Union (GEW) submitted a report to the United Nations regarding the violation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in Germany by the introduction of tuition fees for students for universities.
Until 2006, higher education tuition in Germany was free of charge. Now several of the sixteen federal states are introducing tuition fees for all students enrolled in their universities and colleges. Approx. 75 percent of German students are affected. The GEW supports the German students' opposition to tuition fees because they can impede the admission to universities and colleges.
For young people from families with a low income it will become harder to begin and succeed their studies. Besides, it is already hard enough for them to obtain a higher education. Less than 35 percent of any age group has access to higher education in Germany – less than in other comparable industrial countries.
Referring to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights seems to be a promising international measure to support our national political activities. We are looking forward to join forces with others who live in countries which ratified the International Covenant supporting our position in Europe and all over the world.