★ ISM - UK
~ deutsch ~
The following overview can also be downloaded as a .pdf
- ready to be printed and displayed/distributed ;)
Here you will find an attempt to give you an overview of protests against the increasing privatisation of public education and for free and emancipatory education on the global level in March 2010 alone.
Leave a comment to complete this list.
An overview of education protests during the whole year of 2009 can be accessed here.
Every single protest is part of the same struggle.
Coming up next: "Global Wave of Action for Education" [Oct./Nov. 2010]
Regensburg, Germany: The administration buildung at the University of Regensburg is being occupied by students for 12 hrs. After their demands to get rid of attendance lists and prolong the "prescribed period of study" was met, they left the building again.
Westminster, UK: More than 200 staff and students stormed a meeting of the board of govenors at the University of Westminster to protest against lay-offs, which threaten to close down whole departments.
Afterwards they decided to occupy the room for three days and two nights.
Sacramento, U.S.A.: More than a dozen students from several University of California campuses arrived unannounced at the office of California Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (Democrat-Sacramento). They asked Steinberg to sign a statement that he would only support a budget that increases public university funding and allocates additional funding for multicultural student programs. Steinberg didn't sign. But the protesters had the honour to have a chat with him.
A second group approaching the office of the Jim Nielsen (Republican-Yuba City) were less lucky. They were turned away. Five refused to leave and were arrested by police.
Brighton, UK: More than 50 students stormed the vice-chancellor's office and barricaded themselves inside at the University of Sussex to protest against planned cuts and lay-offs, which eradicate the environmental sciences degree programme, and significantly reduce the size of the English, history and life sciences department. The students’ action is part of a national day of action against education cuts, which was called in response to the government’s announcement (on February 1st) of £950m cuts to university funding over the next three years.
After riot police entered the campus and a previous skimish between them and activists, which resulted in two arrests, as well as the use of tasers and pepper spray was announced, the occupiers left the building during the late afternoon again.
A few days later students who took part in this action received a letter from the vice-chancellor, saying that they have been suspended. This triggered various protests for a few days until this decision was revoked again two weeks later.
Situation on campus during the occupation:
London, UK: More than 200 staff and students of the University College London (UCL) - one of the richtest universities worldwide - joined a demonstration against planned cuts. Especially the faculty of biology and modern languages is effected. Here as well people besieged the provost's office. He declined to come out, and instead had security keep students and staff from his door.
Norwich, UK: A few hundred people joined a demonstration as part of the national day of action at the University of East Anglia (UEA). The demonstration was a warning shot across management’s bows – to show that, whatever cuts are being planned at UEA (no cuts have been definitively announced yet), students will not tolerate them. Management agreed to discuss the university’s finances and future in a public meeting organised through the students’ union.
Johannesburg, South Africa: Students burned barricades and blocked the entrance of Johannesburg University to protest for free access to higher education.
It was the South African Student Congress (SASCO), the biggest student movement in the country, which called for the protests. Among others students were suppose to go on strike at nine universities.
SASCO says, that there is not enough financial support from the state, which results in tens of thousand people unable to get higher education.
At various blockades water canons were used. Similar scenes of protest were also observed at other educational institutions in South Africa on that day.
U.S.A.: According to various sources millions of people took to the streets in more than 100 cities across the country as part of the "National Day of Action to Defend Public Education". Universities across the U.S. of A. didn't see that much activity since the 60s.
Here are a few reports and videos:
San Salvador, El Salvador: A huge part of the campus of the only public university in El Salvador - the University of El Salvador - has been occupied by people keen to go to university. People took over the university after a demonstration organised by parents and individuals who just graduated from school. The protest is directed at the board of regents' refusal to let as many people sign up for the new term as applied [12,500 instead of 23,000]. This effected mostly so-called lower-income families.
Police forces refused to evict the place.
Two weeks later (18/03) the occupation was given up again, after the rector agreed to negotiate. But people are still waiting for real confessions so far.
Regensburg, Germany: More than 1,000 people followed a call by the "AG Schüler" to join a demonstration for a free and more just education system.
Glasgow, Scotland: More than 8,000 people protested against budget cuts in public education.
Budapest, Hungary: Activists staged a symbolic protest against the "Bologna celebrations" by the 46 education ministers.
Vienna, Austria: The "Uni Brennt" (= uni burns) movement was mobilising internationally to Vienna for a huge demonstration (11/03) followed by attempted blockades of the "Bologna celebrations" at the "Hofburg" attended by the 46 education ministers, who are officially involved in the "Bologna-process" The demonstration was joined by about 10,000 people.
The previous night students occupied a lecture hall (10/03).
During the following days a "counter-summit" (March 12-14th) took place.
A personal report with more details (incl. pictures and videos) can be accessed here.
Des Moines, U.S.A.: More than 500 pupils, armed with musical instruments and coming from various schools, stormed the capitol building of Iowa.
The protest stem from a proposal being considered by the Des Moines School Board to eliminate 60 percent of the district's elementary art, music and physical education jobs.
Brighton, UK: More than 300 staff and students once again occupied a building at the University of Sussex to protest against job cuts. This time they took over "Art A2". The occupation lasted for a whole week.
France: Thousands of students, pupils and teachers across France [among others in Paris, Toulouse, Marseille, Lyon, Nice and Strasbourg] took to the streets against the latest set of reforms within the education sector, which include cuts.
Atlanta, U.S.A.: Hundreds of students joined a demonstration against budget cuts for universities and the increase of tuition fees.
On the same day teachers joined a protest action in Californien - 23,000 of them received lay-off notices: "pink slips".
Aberdeen, Scotland: Around 120 students began to occupy the "Management Office" at the Universtiy of Aberdeen as part of the "Aberdeen Defend Education Campaign" to protest against cuts and to create a free space to reflect on the current education system and engage in discussions.
Barcelona, Catalunya/Spain: About 30,000 teachers, parents, pupils and students joined a demonstration through the inner city of Barcelona against the new set of reforms for the public education system. These reforms aim to give educational institutions more "autonomy" and more opportunities to explore new sources for private funding.
Den Haag, Netherlands: About 50 students used their bicycles to block the entrence of the ministry of education, culture and science. With this action they protested against announced cuts in public spending on higher education.
Philippines: Thousands of students in various cities took spontaneously to the streets to protest against an initiative to hike tuition fees by up to 2,000% at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP). Protests were especially intense in Manila, the capital. About 5,000 students left the lecture halls and decided to go on a demonstration through the city. It was followed by students throwing old furniture from the main university building, pile it up and burned it afterwards.
The protest continues!
Brussels, Belgium: Dozens of activists took the initiative at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB): armed with banners and a megaphon they disrupted lectures and explained why the so-called Bologna-process is to be rejected.
Los Angeles, U.S.A.: Dozens of people joined a demonstration against the closure of the Menlo Adult School.
London, UK: More than 1,000 teachers and students demonstrated against cuts on higher education across the country. The "University and College Union" (UCU) called for this protest.
Sacramento, U.S.A.: Thousands of people - mostly students - joined a demonstration against cuts in public spending for education, as well as the increase of tuition fees. It ended in front of the capitol of California.
Minisink Valley, U.S.A.: Hundreds pupils took part in a demonstration against lay-offs at their high-school.
Mumbai, India: Parents, pupils and students united in protest against some public schools still charging fees.
Brussels, Belgium: Up to 1,200 students joined a demonstration through the city against budget cuts.
Source: laLibre.be [French]
Colchester, UK: The first "Take Back Education - Teach-in" took place at the University of Essex. It was joined by teachers and students. It was also used to discuss the following question: "What kind of education do we want?".
Philippines: The protests on the Phlippines are continuing. Tuition fees are suppose to be increased also at the University of the Philippines (UP). As a reaction to this a member of the board of regents was attacked with a paint bomb and "Commission on Higher Education" (CHED) was stormed. In Quezon City the entrance gate was demolished and the building splashed with paint.
In reaction to the protests on March 19th 5 activists were arrested and Ssecurity measures increased at the ministry of education. Charges were dropped and students freed ten days later.
On the same day the head of the CHED plead to not allow the tuition hikes. This means that the board of regents at PUP and UP failed to increase fees at this point.
Another good video showing some impressions of the protests can be accessed here.
Lansing, U.S.A.: Students from across Michigan gathered in Lansing to protest for free public education and against budget cuts. One of the most common slogans was: "No cuts, no fees, education should be free!".
Den Haag, Netherlands: More than 400 students took to the streets in protest against proposed budget cuts.
Manchester, UK: Hundreds of students and workers protested outside the board of governors meeting at Manchester Metropolitan University. They demanded that the management withdraws plans to cut jobs and downgrade others.
Zagreb, Croatia: More than 1,000 people joined a demonstration for free education and with the moto: "Stop the fees - universities for all!".
Bristol, UK: "No ifs, no buts, no education cuts!" was the message from scores of protesters at the Council House.
Teachers and students banged drums, waved placards and chanted slogans ahead of last night's full council meeting. They were raising concerns about the proposed loss of £2.4 million worth of government funding for adult education in Bristol.