★ ISM - UK
June 2014, The Netherlands:
Students protest new Loan System
The following message was left on the wall of the global ISM facebook page:
Update from The Netherlands:
The government is planning to introduce a loan system for bachelor and master students starting next year. This will replace the study financing system which is in place now, that provides students with a (low) study grant. Due to the loan system, many young adults will start their lives out with a giant debt attached to their names. According to 'official' sources the average loan will be approximately 30.000 euro's per student and they will be allowed to pay it off in 35 years.
Our fear is that this 'study mortgage' (and form of double taxation) will endanger access to higher education. Especially for kids from poor families. The government has promised to reinvest their savings from this budget cut in higher education, but has refused to tell us in what way and when. Many students are already choosing for studies that seem to give them a better chance on the labor market, flooding class rooms at law and business faculties, and leaving small language and cultural studies to wither away and die. The educational system should not be subjected to market forces! We need to stop this nonsense before it's too late.
source: global ISM fb page
May 16th, Sri Lanka:
17 Student Activists Remanded until 19th
Although the Government of Sri Lanka has failed to give solutions to the cut in the Allied Health Sciences’ degree and the resistance action of Rajarata students against the repressive university administration, it has launched a campaign of repression against the student activists fighting for education rights.
The latest step by the police in this direction is following students in civil attire and abducting and illegally detaining them. Police has conducted two such illegal abductions. In both these abductions they have produced fake warrants against the students. These abductions happened when the students were leaving after a protest action held in front of the University Grants Commission yesterday (16th) afternoon.
The first abduction happened at about 3.45 in the evening in front of the Post Office in Town Hall. Police officers in civil attire have followed 4 students, ambushed them and a three wheeler and a jeep that arrived suddenly have abducted them. Then they were illegally detained at the Kirulapona Police Station.
Second abduction happened at about 5.35 in the evening. Students have got into a bus to go to Colombo Fort and again police officers in civil attire had got into the bus had attempted to arrest a student under a warrant issued in the name of a different person. Students had protested the illegal arrest of the fellow student and the police had arbitrarily ordered the driver to take the bus along with the 13 students to Slave Island Police Station. When the bus arrived at the Police Station the police have inhumanly attacked the students with batons and poles right in front of the Police Station. As of now, students who were injured were not even hospitalized.
Students were presented in front of the Fort Magistrate at his residence in Mount Lavinia at about 10.30 in the night and the Magistrate had ordered them to be remanded until 19th. Allied Health Science Students activists of Universities of Ruhuna and Peradeniya are thus being illegally detained and Students Council President of University of Peradeniya, Dimuthu Gunasekere is also among the illegally detained.
Abducting and illegally detaining students without warrants and assaulting them is a grave violation of the fundamental rights of the student activists. We categorically condemn this political witch hunt of student activists by the police in collusion with the courts, especially in the context of the Higher Education Minister S.B.Dissanayake’s open threat towards IUSF activists and their families. We invite the people of this country to organize and rally to protect educational, political and fundamental rights of the students.
contact: firstname.lastname@example.org | +94 777 357 124
An Update on the Situation in Slovenia
Slovenia is a little out of ism, because we are caught in local struggle. We are organizing protest on Wednesday 16th of April so we are occupied. Ministry for science, education and sport came out with new bill of higher education in October 2013. There were general assemblies on many faculties regarding the law. Students and the faculty staff, including professors, have discussed the tuition fees, commercialization and privatization that the bill brings and participants agreed on holding a protest if the law proceeds to parliament.
In February ministry came out with a new ("corrected") version of law that supposedly took in the account the critics that were pointed out during the public debate. It was clear that the law has the same previous' key points and that immediate action had to take place.
So for one month student group ISKRA was campaigning and organizing students intensively. We were informing students about the law and making connections with unions and other "political" parties (such as anarchist's, socialists, protest movements...). We worked with on zero budget and past the established student's structures. Our main student's organization consists of main political parties offspring and more or less support the law.
After the protests on April 16th this short report (incl. pictures) was sent:
Hi, some notes from the protest and some pictures.There were between 1000 and 2000 participants on the protest which is a rather small number if we take into account that there is 50 000 students studying on university of Ljubljana. That is manly due to political apathy of students who are caught in personal struggles and doesn't see themselves as part of society. The protest was peaceful, but it is also good to notice that everybody who came have formed their own and strong opinion about the bill.So our work continues on further politicization of student body and fight against the ministry which responses to protest was not serious. Some representatives mocked us and minister said that he is offended for being called a liar (who he is).#1world1strugle
To contact ISKRA you can email email@example.com.
January - February 2014, Rajshahi University:
Struggle against Tuition Fees - Uni shut down!
Since January 16th, 2014 students at Rajshahi University (RU) have been struggling against an increase in tuition fees as well as the introduction of commercial evening courses. Rajshahi is a city with a population of around 700,000 in the north-west of Bangladesh. To resist the increase in fees as well as the evening classes students have been on strike since January 30th. On Sunday, February 2nd, thousands of students were attacked by police as well as members of the Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) - the student wing of the ruling Awami League - while rallying on campus once again. More than 100 students and eight journalists were injured. Following those latest developments the university was shut down for an indefinite period and students had to leave their dorms for the time being.
For more details check out the reports of each day below.
[This page might be updated to inform about any latest developments in the coming days. In case you have updates to share on the situation at RU, then send drop a line at the global ISM mailing list [firstname.lastname@example.org] and it will be added to this page.
February 3rd (Mon)
About 6,000 students of RU had to leave their dormitories on Monday morning after the authorities closed down the university indefinitely. Six cases have been filed accusing some 475 people, 105 of them named, a day after agitating students were attacked on campus.
Many were seen standing helplessly at the Rajshahi bus terminal and railway station. The announcement for closure was made several hours after police and BCL members attacked protesting students. Rony, a student of the Department of Mass Communication and Journalism, said they were informed of the syndicate's decision [the highest governing body of the university] around 9pm on Sunday. "Most of us do not have any money at the beginning of the month and it was not possible to secure [bus or train] tickets at night," he said.
Coordinator of the protesters, Ayatullah, said the students were leaving the campus in great anger. Many shouted slogans. "We'll resume our protest against attacks on the students and to demand cancellation of the evening classes from the day the university reopens," he told bdnews24.com.
The university administration, police and BCL filed six cases with the Motihar Police Station on charges of attacking a procession, creating unrest on the campus, exploding bombs and obstructing the police.
Police on Sunday detained Sajib Ahmed, a fourth year student of the Department of Finance and Banking, on charges of vandalism. The Proctor said two cars belonging to teachers, some of their residences and several academic buildings had been ransacked on Sunday.
Ayatullah, President of the university Chhatra Union unit and coordinator of the student's movement, feared that they might be implicated in the cases. He told bdnews24.com: “We are demonstrating for the general students. A student organisation has attacked us and now we are being sued again. This is the paradox of the university’s ones-sided policy.”
BCL university unit's Organising Secretaries Shamsuzzaman Emon, Al-Galib and Foysal Ahmed Runu, Joint General Secretaries Mahbubur Rahman Palash and Nasim Ahmed Setu, Environment Affairs Secretary Mustakin Billah and another leader, Sudipta Salam, were seen wielding firearms on the campus during the attacks on the students.
No members of the pro-government BCL were arrested over the past one and a half years despite being often seen openly brandishing firearms and other weapons on the Rajshahi University campus.
School Strike in Solidarity with Refugees
In response to this call to action between 3,500 and 5,000 pupils and supporters gathered in the streets of Hamburg today. Unsurprisingly the demo was not supported by the school board. School authorities even attempted to intimidate pupils by threatening to register all who are missing classes and that everyone who attends the protest needs to present a letter of apology from the parents. On the other hand the education union (GEW) supports the pupils saying that it is a practical lesson in political education.
Many banners and posters with different slogans were displayed (see pictures below) and slogans such as "no border - no nation - stop deportation!" heard.
In the same context also more than 400 pupils and students rallied in Frankfurt/M on the same day in the afternoon. The rally was also supported by the general students' committee of the Goethe University of Frankfurt/M.
the speech bubble says: deportation means torture - deportation means murder
Erich-Kästner school against racism
No one is illegal! Ⓐ