Students protest reduced seats at public universities, expenses that will put higher education out of reach

Groups of recently graduated high school students protest in Kalar on October 27, 2021 (NRT Digital Media/Screenshot)

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SULAIMANI — Groups of recently graduated high school students protested on Wednesday (October 27) against the results produced by the Zankoline system, which is used to place applicants in degree programs at public universities and institutes in the Kurdistan Region.

The demonstrations took place in Kalar, Ranya, Erbil, and Sulaimani.

One of the students told NRT that she scored a 99 on her final exams, but was not accepted at any university’s medical department.

She said that the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Ministry of Higher Education had announced earlier that it would increase the number of seats, but reduced them instead.

She said the medical department at the University of Sulaimani accepted 251 students in 2020, but only accepted 195 this year.

Students also protested on Tuesday after the results were announced on Monday.

A student in Sulaimani said that their demand is for the government to increase the number of seats available in all the departments and run the allocation system again.

Their representative said that officials were not ready to meet them, noting that the same issue happened in 2018 and was resolved after five hours.

He argued that the situation is because authorities want students to apply for the so-called "parallel system,” where the students at public institutions pay fees to study, rather than going for free.

Another student said that those fees go back to the KRG’s Ministry of Finance.

(NRT Digital Media)