COLOMBIA - New Mobilization of Students

Following we document an English translation (by demvolkedienen), about the students protest in Colombia, which took place on 28th of November in several cities of the country:

[source: El Comunero]

Students affirm: "We will not be the generation that lets die the Public University"

On November 28 there was a new mobilization of students in several cities of the country. The demand remains the same: more funding for public Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). The State's response also remains the same: to defend its education project as a business of the big capital and imperialism, which can be summarized as follows: 1- Gradual de-financing of HEIs; 2- Compelling them to self-finance by raising enrollments, selling research to multinationals and large companies, selling cultural and sports services to the middle class, and ending the support programs for the popular classes within the University; 3- Promote educational credits, strengthening the Icetex with state resources and with loans from the World Bank, promoting that students and their families get indebted with educational loans to access higher education; 4- Increase the level of demand for admission to public universities, with expensive registration pins and more difficult admission tests, which leaves the poorest young people who come from public schools with almost no possibilities.

This state plan, applied little by little since the 90s, has led public universities to an unprecedented crisis: some have been applied bankruptcy law, others with buildings that are falling apart, dismantle the university welfare for popular sectors (residences, restaurants and free transportation), collection of registration pins with values ​​between $ 50,000 and $ 120,000, hiring professors per hour chair, minimum enrollment above $ 500,000 / semester in large amount of public HEI, collection of outputs field to students, among many other expressions that affect all students, but especially the poorest, because every year there are fewer guarantees for young people from working and peasant families can access and maintain public university. And while the poorest young people are gradually excluded from public universities, the middle class (strata 3, 4 and 5) are now the sector to which the public university is directed, since they are the children of families with the ability to pay tuition fees, currently between $ 1,000,000 and $ 3,000,000 per semester, and continue to rise.

Faced with this situation, the last governments (Santos and now Duque), continue to deepen the plan: not giving importance for public universities and greater budget for Icetex (educational credits), but now they created a new ingredient: 5- Strengthening of most prestigious private universities` programs, through programs such as the former "Ser Pilo Paga" or the new "Generation E", which are scholarships for the best secondary school students, programs that annually only favor less than 2% of all high school graduates 1 , 2 and 3, and that are resources that in more than 80% end up in private ones. A great business in which private universities, banks and Icetex (which pays very high interest to the World Bank) win, and loses the working people, the children of workers, peasants and the middle classes, for whom, with the gradual dismantling of the public university, there is only one option: borrow to study.

This year, facing the alarm of several rectors of public universities, that the resources not even did reach enough to finish the year, unleashed an ample student and teacher movement that already completes more than a month, and in some cities more than two months, with weekly mobilizations and gradual increase in combativity and confrontations with the police. The past November 28 was not the exception, after the march, students of several universities decided to make a blockade of Barranquilla Street, outside the University of Antioquia (UdeA), to exert greater pressure on the State. Before the repression of the riot police, the students responded with stones, sticks, explosives and Molotov cocktails. Below are photographs of the march in the city of Medellín and the confrontation with the police in UdeA.

#Colombia #studentprotest