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Sri Lanka, Sept. 24-28th: Long Marches for Free Education

Sri Lanka, Sept. 24-28th:
Long Marches for Free Education

For months lecturers in Sri Lanka have been on strike in the struggle for proper funding of public education. On August 29th thousands already took to the streets of Colombo and clashed with riot police. For details on the aims of the protests as well as pictures of that day check out ism-global.net.

For five days (Sept 24-28th) thousands of students, lecturers, parents and others took part in two long marches for free education. Each march covered a distance 120km. One march, which was organised by the Inter-University Student Federation (IUSF) among others, departed from city of Kandy. The other march, which was organised by the Federation of University Teachers Associations (FUTA) among others, began in Galle. Both headed to Colombo and ended in a huge rally.

Check out the video below.

Take a look at this video in english:

Indonesia, Sept.27-28th: Protests against Commercialization of Education in 15 cities

Indonesia, Sept.27/28th:
Protests against new 'Higher Education Act'

On July 13 2012, the House of Representatives passed a new bill on higher education. During the plenary session, the new bill was introduced to give public universities greater autonomy in aspects of governance and seeking non-state funding, but still allows for substantially tight regulation from the government.
Activist groups across Indonesia have been protesting against the bill claiming that the provisions on 'autonomy' would pave way for the commercialization of higher education and result in increased fees. It is eminent that the privatization and liberalization of universities will turn higher education into a business commodity and this is something various activist groups are rejecting, despite what Syamsul Bachri, the head of the House working committee said; that the bill was really a “constructive effort toward managing and regulating the higher education sector to be more modern and globally competitive.”

As part of the efforts to counter this new bill students organized in the Indonesian Student Union (SMI) - which supports and prepares activities in connection with the GLOBAL EDUCATION STRIKE [Oct.18 + Nov.14-22] - organized protest actions in 15 cities on September 27/28th (see pictures below).

Here is an example (on a junction in Semarang City):

In December 2005 the government already signed the GATS (General Agreement on Trade in Services), which govern the liberalization of trade in 12 service sectors. The agreement also considers education as a public sector service that should be privatized and therefore public control to be removed. Here are some figures that might help to understand the situation better:
  • Of the 49,000 kindergartens in Indonesia, 99.35 percent are privately operated schools.
  • In contrast to the majority of privately run kindergartens, most elementary schools are government-operated public schools, accounting for nearly 93 percent of all elementary schools in Indonesia.
  • 56 percent of junior secondary and 67 percent of senior secondary schools are run privately.
  • 68 percent of all higher education students are enrolled in one of the more than 3,000 private institutions in the country. There are only about 130 public institutions.

Therefore this new bill on higher education is part of the whole process, which increases the privatization and commercialization of education even further. A process that can be observed around the world and that makes common efforts in the struggle for free emancipatory education more necessary than ever. After all education is the basis for the emancipation of the individual as well as society at large and therefore should be considered a fundamental right.

Sources: smisemarang.co.cc - en.wikipedia.org - web.worldbank.org - nytimes.com - thejakartaglobe.com

Strikes at Universities in Greece

Strikes at Universities in Greece

The following email was sent to the mailing list of the Edu-Factory collective on September 21st 2012:

During the past weeks there has been a wave of faculty strikes in Greek Universities. These are the reasons for the protests:

Manila, Sept.17-21: Student Strike against Commercialisation of Education

Manila, Sept.17-21:
Student Strike
against Commercialisation of Education

In the struggle against (tuition) fees as well as the increasing commercialisation of education in general students at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), in the capital Manila, decided to shut down the institution for a week (Sept.17-21).
Activities during the strike are also directed against 40 years of martial law. Although there's currently no legal declaration of a state of martial law, military tactics and operations frequently include measures such as forced disappearances, warrantless arrests and extra-judicial executions, especially in areas outside cities. Nowadays most of the victims of such military operations are farmers, tribal leaders, and environmentalists who oppose the operations of mining companies in their villages.

On Tuesday a huge flashmob was organised on the PUP campus.

Students at the University of the Philippines (UP), also in Manila, joined the strike for a day on Wednesday. And also at other colleges and universities people arranged protest activities in solidarity, but also to connect to the struggle.

The week of action will reach its peak on Friday (Sept.21), which will see a mass mobilisation for a protest rally in Mendiola Street.

Petition: Stop the sell out of the VU University Amsterdam!

Petition:
Stop the Sell Out of the
VU University Amsterdam

The following message was communicated through the ISM platform:

Dear International Student Movement friends,

You may have heard the alarming news about severe budget cuts at universities and higher educational institutions in The Netherlands. We understand that this is not just a very local problem at our VU University Amsterdam, but that the problem occurs in the whole country and internationally. Concern is growing about the sell out of universities as public institutions. Our university is particularly ardent in its implementation of their plans to reduce fixed costs and attract more industrial subventions, bypassing advice from the official partners, the trade unions and the works council. We, students and staff-members, are taking serious action to prevent this undemocratic process and we have launched an international petition. We particularly seek support from student organisations because student facilities and teaching are the main victims of the reorganisations.

We kindly ask you to post our call for support on your website, and of course to sign it.  Below is the text you could forward.

Sincerely,
Bertie Kaal (Concerned VU group member)

---

CALL FOR SUPPORT

Esteemed Colleagues and Students,

We, your colleagues at  the VU University Amsterdam, need your help. We seek international solidarity to stop our Executive Board from implementing a Strategic Plan based on a strict business model that has recently been rejected by the VU University’s Works Council and the Trade Unions. This plan aims at changing our university into a commercial knowledge industry, at the expense of 450 full-time jobs and severe cuts in student services. Full details on our petition site.

Please support our cause and sign the petition! Click on the button below for further information about our situation and your signature.

We urge you to distribute this international call for support as widely as possible.

Kind regards,
The Concerned VU Group, VU University Amsterdam
‘Verontruste VU’ers’

More details on
verontrust.wordpress.com

facebook.com/groups/379785065389962

Click on this banner to find out more and support the petition:

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