02/13/2012 08:03 EST | Updated 02/13/2012 08:08 EST

Quebec Tuition Strike: Thousands Protest Fee Increases


MONTREAL - Quebec students are hitting the bricks, not the books, to protest tuition-fee increases.

A series of strikes will be carried out over the next two weeks in hopes of paralyzing the education system and making the provincial government back down.

Around 20,000 students voted last week in favour of the strikes.

Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, a spokesman for the students, says most of the strikes will be felt next Monday. But some student associations in Montreal have already walked out.

Protests are planned outside the offices of the ministers of finance and education.

Last week, students blocked access to a Quebec government building. About 100 student protesters created a human barricade outside the Montreal offices of the Education Department.

Quebec wants to nearly double the cost of a university education over the next five years.

Even with the increases, the province would still have by far the lowest university tuition in the country.

Quebec has generally frozen its fees for decades. As a result, in-province students pay an average of $2,168 per year — far less than the national average of $5,138. The planned increases would bring Quebec's undergrad fees to $3,793.