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As university and college strikes throughout the country completed their third week, the Committee of University Presidents decided Thursday to extend the second semester by two weeks and order students to return to class on Sunday.
Lecturers are expected to resume teaching even if "only one student turns up," Israel Radio reported. Those students that refuse to return to classes at this point will be endangering their educational future, said the committee, adding that they would do everything possible to help students make up missed material.
University leaders said that they understood the students' struggle, but were adamant that both universities and students fight together for higher education.
Representative of the university presidents and Bar-Ilan University's president Prof. Moshe Kaveh added that if the students do not return to classes on Sunday, the 2nd semester will be cancelled.
Student leaders however continued to stand by their demands, announcing that they will not end the strike until the government completely resolves the situation.
Meanwhile, the Finance Ministry announced that it was opposed to Education Minister Yuli Tamir's suggestion that student tuition be reduced by between three to four percent for the 2007-2008 school year, saying that there was no budget for such a plan.
According to ministry sources, Tamir's proposal, meant as a compromise to end the 22-day-old student strike, had not been coordinated with the Finance Ministry in advance.
Tamir had also suggested an eventual implementation of the Shochat Committee's recommendation to raise tuition fees.