Friday, 13 November 2009
Wave of student resistance across Europe
A WAVE of student occupations against the latest neoliberal assault on education is sweeping across Europe.
Young people are waking up to the fact that "reforms" being brought in by their own local states are just part of an overall plan to commercialise universities - increasing fees and gearing them up to fulfill the narrow demands of business.
Said a report on the movement in Barcelona: "Under the auspices of the 'Bologna Process', a plan to homogenise European higher education, the Spanish state is enforcing a university reform that is threatening the public nature of education.
"The most detrimental aspects of this reform include the raising of tuition fees, making it increasingly difficult for working-class students to access higher education and increasing student debt, as well as facilitating the entry of private capital to the university, which threatens to change the priorities of the university’s education and research programmes.
"The ultimate goal of the reform is to strengthen links between universities and the capitalist market, moulding students for a precarious and unequal job market and rolling back public control over the key institutions of our society."
German Indymedia this week reported strikes in three Bavarian unis, plus occupations in Berlin, Mainz, Essen, Duisburg, Munster, Dresden, Schwenningen, Hamburg, Coburg, Tubingen, Aachen and Monchengladbach.
Said a report on the infoshop site, focusing on Austrian student resistance: "The Bologna process aims at extensive convergence with the Anglo-American education system. The goal is to enter competition in the global education market to strengthen its own economic position and increase research dependent revenues.
"Economization and competition logic are imposed on every level of the knowledge landscape."
A statement by students in Vienna issued this week demanded "education, not qualification!" It added: "We want education for all, to strive for a reasonable society, not just qualification according to economic profitability! Our aim is to enable all students to study independently and self-organized.
"We demand free access to higher education for everybody and the complete abolition of student fees."