Friday, February 25, 2011

Joint Statement: Global Wave of Action for Education

Around the world students, pupils, teachers, parents and employees have been protesting against the increasing commercialization and privatization of public education, and fighting for free and emancipator education in the past decade.

This year will see people unify this struggle on the international and global level for the “Global Wave of Action for Education.”

Many of us use the “International Student Movement” as a self-managed platform initiated to exchange information, to network and to co-ordinate protests at both the international and the global levels. We strive for structures based on direct participation and non-hierarchical organization through collective discussion and action. Anyone who identifies with the struggle against the privatization of public education, and for free and emancipatory education can join and participate on as well as shape the platform!

Some of us have already met and networked during the following occasions: 10 years of “Bologna-Process” in Louvain la Neuve (Belgium) on April 25-29th 2009, G8 University Summit in Torino (Italy) on May 17- 19th 2009, Bologna Burns in Vienna (Austria) on March 11-14th 2010, Bologna keeps on Burning in Madrid (Spain) and the “European Education Congress” in Bochum (Germany) on May 25-30th. 

What are we struggling against?

• The effects of the current economic system on people and education systems:
 - Tuition fees or any form of fees which exclude people from accessing and equally participating in education
 - Student debt
 - Public education aligned to serve the (labour) market
The so-called Bologna-Process (as with its counterparts around the world) is aimed at implementing education systems that primarily train people in skills serving the labour market. It promotes the reduction of costs for training a person, shortens the length of time spent studying, and produces under-qualified workforces.

 - Turning education into a commodity (like all other aspects of life)
 - (Increasing) influence of business interests on basic budgets for public education
 - (Increasing) budget cuts on public education worldwide
 - The “privatization” of public funds with the subsidization of private educational institutions
 - The commodification and exploitation of labor within educational institutions

• We stand against the discrimination and exclusion within any educational institution based on:
 - Socio-economic background (education systems are currently set up so that people with less money can’t participate equally)
 - Nationality
 - Performance
 - Political ideologies and activities
 - Gender
 - Sexual orientation
 - Religion
 - Ethnic background
 - Skin colour

• We stand against the prioritisation of research towards commercially valuable patents rather than open knowledge freely available to all! Public educational institutions are increasingly forced to compete for private sponsorships to do (basic) research; at the same time private funds have the tendency to be invested into research promising to be profitable (leading to a decline in funding for areas of research which may be important but not deemed economically lucrative). On the basis of profitability, educational institutions and participants are deemed ‘excellent’ and often fulfill the criteria to receive additional public funding.

• We stand against the prioritisation of income-generating research grants ahead of education and basic research activities for the army within educational institutions:
 - No research specifically for military purposes
 - No recruiting and advertising activities for the army

What are we struggling for?

 - Free and emancipatory education as a human right: education should primarily serve the individual’s interest to be emancipated, that means: to be enabled to critically reflect and understand the power structures and environment surrounding him-/herself; education must not only enable the emancipation of the individual but society as a whole
 - Education as a public good serving public interests
 - Academic freedom and choice: freedom to pursue any educational discipline

 - Free from monetary mechanisms of payment by participants and any kind of discrimination and exclusion and therefore freely accessible to all individuals 
 - Sufficient funding of all educational institutions, no matter if deemed profitable or not

 - All educational entities/institutions should be democratically structured (direct participation from below as a basis for decision making processes)

Why on the local and global level?

The impacts of the current global economic system create struggles worldwide. While applying local pressure to influence our individual local/regional politics and legislation, we must always be aware of the global and structural nature of our problems and share our tactics, experiences in organizations, and theoretical knowledge to learn from each other. Short-term changes may be achieved on the local level, but great change will only happen if we unite globally.

Education systems worldwide do what they are intended to do within the economic and state system(s):  select, train and create ignorance and submission. We unite for a different education system and a different life.

We stand united against any sort of repression by governments worldwide directed at people involved in the struggle for free and emancipatory education.

~ One world - One struggle ~ 
P.S.: The content and the images presented in this post, are property of International Student Movement and Spring of Resistance. SimplyJITH supports the cause and this post is a voluntary effort to express support.