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Government recommends educational institutions to raise tuition fees by no more than 29 percent in February

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Government recommends educational institutions to raise tuition fees by no more than 29 percent in February

The Belarusian Ministry of Education has recommended educational institutions to raise their tuition fees by no more than 29 percent in February.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the ministry said that the institutions should raise their fees depending on the cost of training in a particular field.

It also suggested that the country`s vocational education schools and universities should allow students with special circumstances to defer the payment of the increased tuition fees.

The educational institutions are to increase their tuition fees in pursuance of a rise in the First-Class Worker Rate, which is used for calculating pay rates in the public sector. The rate increased by 32.5 percent on January 1 to 200,000 rubels.

The previous increase in tuition fees occurred in the fall of 2011 as a result of a 28-percent increase in the First-Class Worker Rate. At that time the education ministry recommended institutions of higher learning not to raise their fees by more than 25 percent.

First Deputy Education Minister Alyaksandr Zhuk promised in mid-July that higher schools would raise their tuition fees by no more than 20 percent in the new academic year.

Belarus` higher education institutions raised their tuition fees by up to 30 percent in January.

According to Education Minister Syarhey Maskevich, that happened only because of an increase in the First-Class Worker Rate.

The rate had to be raised to bring average before-tax monthly pay up to the projected level, $500, Mr. Maskevich told reporters in late January, acknowledging that any price rise was an unpopular measure.

Bringing average monthly pay up to $500 was one of Alyaksandr Lukashenka`s key promises in the recent presidential race. His opponents had warned that the fulfillment of the promise would lead to serious economic problems immediately after the election, including the acceleration of inflation.