Massive Protests for Access to Education
~ December 8th ~
NOTE: this video contains material of graphic violence from minute 10:10 onwards!
The only two public universities in Togo, the University of Lomé and the University of Kara, were temporarily shut down by authorities after riot police clashed with students on campus on thursday (Dec. 8th). To break up the protest police forces fired teargas and chased students.
The protests were triggered by a new "financial aid policy", which was introduced last month. Now payouts are only to be awarded to students considered "brilliant" or "outstanding" instead to all scholars as before. Before the introduction of this new regulation, all students received 20,000 FCFA (= 40US$, 30€) per semester.
The two public universities enrol more than 60,000 students. Besides that there are also several private institutions in this small West African country.
Students arranged general assemblies at the University of Lomé and the University of Kara, which were attended by thousands. Dozens were injured by the riot police. There are reports that they also used live ammunition. At least one student was shot in the hand.
The protests will continue.
If you have updates on the situation and want to see them published here, then drop a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For activists across the African continent to network and connect an ISM-Africa facebook group was set up.
The following message was sent to the ISM (global) mailing list on November 29th:
100 hours of Sit-in
at the University of Bucharest (Romania)
~ stated on November 24th, 6pm ~
Students and others gathered at the SIT-IN at the University in Bucharest.
The banners in the back say „Canes cannot replace ideas” and „Obedience suffocates the conscience”.
On the 24th of November at the University of Bucharest, a public debate over the current state of affairs of education has been organized. To stop the students and others to peacefully debate and protest, the University authorities have sent plenty of private security agents to try to stop the event.
sent to the global mailing list of the International Student Movement platform on November 21st:
Liberation of the Faculty of Arts in Ljubljana
~ Call for Support ~
A group of students, professors and assistants will attempt to liberate the Slovenian higher-education sphere from the clench of austerity measures on the 23rd of November. They will try to do so by occupying the local Faculty of Arts and opening a democratic space for discussion and alternative praxis. Some of the measures or processes, which have been detected as problematic by the movement, have been present for long, others are still to shake academic life in the near future. We can label most of them as damaging for either the quality, accessibility or the democratic charge of the learning and research process.
Students Resist State Abandonment
of Public Education
The government of Bangladesh introduced a new funding rule (clause 27(4)) that forces Jagannath University (JnU) to generate its own funds - consequently work without state support by 2012 and therefore be run like a private company. It is worth mentioning that JnU is suppose to be a public institution.
The university now needs to look for funds elsewhere. Usually there are two potential sources: fees and private investors. Of course fees are obviously not in the interest of the public, since it restricts access to education even further. Private investors are also not favorible, since independent teaching and research is vital not just for proper science, but for society in general. And emancipatory education financed by profit-driven interests is not possible anyway.
Following this new rule students on the ground assume that semester fees will be increased by 600% (previously: 3,500 BDT = 34€ = 47US$ - soon: 20,000 BDT = 195€ = 266US$).
At this stage only Jagannath University is directly affected. All financial support for JnU by the government should cease for by 2012. If this transformation succeeds, then at least two other universities are to follow by 2017.
It is worth noting that the public was informed about these changes through a newspaper report on September 25th (sunday).
As a direct reaction thousands of students began to block roads around campus and the High Court, demanding that this new rule be scrapped again. Police were called in and began to charge protesters with batons to disperse the crowd. Demands of the students also include the reinstatement of university dormitories, the setting up of a library, and the improvement of transport facilities as well as the branch closure of Bangladesh Bank office on campus.
This development is a symptom of the currently dominating economic system and part of the commercialisation process within education. This is the future for all of us around the world - unless we finally connect and fight back together (e.g. "Global Weeks of Action for Education" - November 07 - 20th).
Education Protests in September 2011
We are Everywhere!
The following is an overview of protests linked to our struggle against the increasing commercialisation of education and for free emancipatory education around the world during September 2011. It supports the thesis that this is a struggle against symptoms of the currently dominating economic system, an economic system which unleashes its forces on the global level. Therefore the need to connect around the world to counter these developments and fight for a different education together is self-evident. Groups and activists worldwide are currently getting ready for the "Global Weeks of Action for Education" (November 07-20th 2011) with the "international joint statement" as the basis. Consider to get involved in the coordinations on the International Student Movement platform and to endorse the joint statement as an assembly, group or individual.
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