MONTREAL - Delegates to the student group known as CLASSE have overwhelmingly rejected the agreement reached late last week with the government.

The students now say that the protest against rising tuition fees is far from over and encouraged the continuation of strikes and pressure tactics in a conference held Thursday. The plans include a large protest to be held May 22.

"The students said that the offer would only put things off until later, but not necessarily solve the problem," said CLASSE representative Jeanne Reynolds.

Fellow CLASSE spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois said the group is ready to return to the negotiating table as soon as possible, but it wants the next round of discussions to focus specifically on tuition hikes rather than other related issues, such as university management.

"We'll have a negotiation process that will finally address the issue of the strike, that is to, say higher tuition. The minister has been beating around the bush," he said.

He recalled that students remain mobilized even if chances of the cancellation of the semester are increasing.

"Remember that there are still 165,000 people who are on strike in Quebec. It's a strike that defies all odds, that defies all projections," said Nadeau-Dubois.

The other two student groups, the Quebec Federation of College Students (FECQ) and the Quebec Federation of University Students (FEUQ), have not yet pronounced on the agreement.

However, they demanded Monday that it be rewritten to clarify certain points.

President of the FECQ, Leo Blouin-Bureau, said Thursday that the group noted the lack of enthusiasm towards the agreement, based on the low student participation in meetings held on the issue.

"Almost all our student unions for the moment have rejected the agreement in principle, so we are looking at what precise aspects of the agreement in principle have to be clarified," he told CTV Montreal.

For its part, the FEUQ is expected to vote Friday afternoon, once the member associations have all been consulted.

For now, however, students have completely rejected the agreement, according to FEUQ President Martine Desjardins.

Minister Beauchamp for her part said Thursday, through her press secretary Helene Sauvageau, that the government has acknowledged CLASSE's rejection but added that it will not comment further out of respect for other student organizations that have still not decided.

With a file from The Canadian Press