Students in the UK are struggling against tuition fees and the increasing influence of profit-driven companies and corporations on higher education.
During the last year alone, hundreds of thousand of students, teaching and technical staff, parents and workers in over 30 countries on five continents have protested to defend free public education for all. University buildings were occupied, roads blocked and petitions signed.
Since 1999, governments in Europe have been using the Bologna Process to challenge the status of education as a public good. Higher Education systems are increasingly linked to private instead of public interests. Officially the process is suppose to improve the international recognition of degrees, increase the mobility of students and aims – just like every country in this world does as well – for Europe to become a more competitive economy on the global stage.
As students in the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the USA know best, the commercialisation of education results in universities being run like companies.
We are not only struggling for free access to education, but also for progressive education. Of course governments and economic actors have no interest in providing such education. People who are able to critically reflect their environment are less likely to be influenced and manipulated. That’s why it is up to the people to make sure that such a free and emancipating public education system is implemented.
People around the world shouldn’t tolerate the fact that educational institutions are being reduced to companies “producing” human capital for the labour market. We are not “resources”, but human beings and citizens.
The increasing privatisation of education is not compatible with the needs of a truly democratic society.
In response to this global development student activists from various countries recently launched an “International Day of Action against the Commercialisation of Education” scheduled for 5th November. (http://fading-hope.blog-city.com)
So far the call is being officially support by eleven groups from France, Germany, England, the USA, Canada, Croatia and Liberia. Others in Australia, Italy, Macedonia and Spain are currently discussing it.
With this international day of action we aim to achieve the following:
– promoting the global perspective (among activists and non-activists) of the struggle against the commercialisation of education
– bringing together groups and organisations around the world that are struggling for education reform to exchange information and plan internationally co-ordinated protests
In the end, we hope to be able to use international pressure from students, teaching and technical staff and workers to force governments to implement free and emancipating public education systems for all.
The planed Day of Action is supposed to be only the beginning of a process of bringing groups and activists struggling for free and progressive education around the world closer together.
Currently a homepage (including a forum) is under construction, which will be put online in the next few days. (www.emancipating-education-for-all.org)
There is a group on facebook with close to 2,000 activists and supporters from around the world: “International Students Movement for Free and Emancipating Education”. We must get connected and organised. A mailing list was also set up with which students from various countries can infom other activists elsewhere about their struggle.
With this international call we invite all students and university staff organisations to join us and to fight for truly free and progressive public education. Please help to propagate this call, talk to others about it and get involved.
Let’s get organized and unite in our struggle for free and progressive public education.
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