segunda-feira, dezembro 21, 2009

National Convention Against Fees and Cuts [@ UK]

On 6th of February UCL Students for Free Education will host the National Convention Against Fees and Cuts, an all-day conference of action, discussion and entertainment for anyone who thinks higher education should be free for all. We are looking to call the conference in co-operation with all sections of the student movement still willing to stand and fight – especially sympathetic unions. With a relentless assault of cuts, threats and marketisation from the Government, and an NUS leadership unwilling to seriously challenge it, there is a real danger that Free Education – until so recently a reality – could fall off the political map altogether.

If Free Education is to remain on the agenda, it is now more vital than ever that the student movement set out its stall and reclaim the momentum. In part, this will mean restating what we stand for – that education is a right not a privilege, that it should be democratically controlled for the benefit of all. But most crucially we must set out our stall, commit ourselves and our organisations to a renewed and organised struggle against cuts and marketisation, as well as properly addressing the wider questions – what should education be about, and how could and should it be funded if not by us?

Continuar a ler o artigo...A National Convention should give us an opportunity to address these questions, and to reignite student activism about education. It will also give us a route to participating internationally: we look to invite speakers from abroad, and to draw conclusions from the international fight for Free Education.

And, as, always, we will need to do that thing so seldom mentioned by earnest gatherings – have fun! We anticipate big attendance, free food, comedy, music, high-profile speakers and bags of opportunity to contribute.

If you are active in an organisation or Union that is sympathetic to Free Education and might be willing to support the conference, please get in touch with us at We will be looking to co-ordinate the collaborative elements of the conference – such as a possible ‘declaration of fighting Unions’ – with all of its supporters at some point in early autumn. Please get in touch, and join our Facebook group.

We will be working on the logistical aspects of the convention for some time to come, but we are already aware that it will be difficult for some to attend all day without some kind of accommodation, and will be drawing up a list of people willing to host.

sexta-feira, dezembro 18, 2009

quinta-feira, dezembro 17, 2009

Student movement in Croatia: stronger than ever

For the past two weeks, over 800 students have participated in the blockading of the filosofski fakultet, one of the main university buildings in Croatia’s capital Zagreb. Just over two weeks ago, a plenum was held with the decision made to occupy this building, where much of the social sciences and arts/humanities teaching takes place, and to block all teaching taking place there. This might seem short-sighted at first glance, as students themselves are the first to feel the ill-effects of no teaching. But the decisison was made, and was necessary to highlight how seriously students oppose the current government’s attempts to create a market in education, and to make students pay for this ‘privilege’. Two weeks of tuition lost to this generation of students is nothing compared to the years of university level education which many future potential students will lose as a result of not being able to afford to go to university. The blockade was impressively well organised. Students made sure the building was kept clean. The consumption of alcohol and smoking were forbidden inside the building during the blockade, and students organised themselves into groups of redari (monitors) who kept tabs on what was going on in every classroom in the building. I volunteered as a redar almost every day and it was interesting to see just how much the blockade had polarised the students and the professors. Whilst the majority of professors were in favour of the blockade, a few departments had a majority against the student action. The most significant department voting against being unsurprisingly (to those who know a little about the history of Croatia), German studies, who persistently tried to hold classes on a day to day basis. An alternative lecture programme also took place, with 3-5 guest lectures taking place on a daily basis. I gave a workshop on the commericalisation of education in the UK, with special focus on Manchester University, and how students have organised themselves against such neoliberal impositions, and crucially, how the struggles currently taking place in Manchester, Croatia, Serbia, Germany among others are connected.

Continuar a ler o artigo...The most shocking aspect of the blockade was without a doubt the mainstream media coverage. Public opinion in Croatia is generally in favour of free university level education, certainly at the undergraduate level (currently only the first year is free to a majority of students, although some have to pay for all three years. The students were pushing for free higher education at all levels). With this in mind, during the last blockade (last April, *check*), the main newspaper Jutarnji List was subtle in its opposition to the blockade. This time around however, they were bluntly open in their demonisation of the blockade, the national front page headline reading “Stop terrorizing those who want to learn” (Prestanite terrorizirati one koji žele učiti). This headline was accompanied with a picture of the student protestors outside the faculty with a banner, but Jutarnji List had stamped a new slogan over the banner: “The future is our work” (Budućnost je naš posao). Incidentally, this headline is also a slogan scattered across advertising boards over the country for one of the main social democratic candidates (Milan Bandić) vying for presidency, national elections taking place in Croatia on 27th december.

However, the protest did receive some positive media coverage in the left wing media (most notably in Zarez) and the students organised workshops on media representation and coverage of the protests. The blockade in Zagreb was part of a wider series of blockades at several universities throughout Croatia, including Rijeka and Osijek. As a result, the government have yet again postponed indefinitely the introduction of a new law which would give a centralised management committee the power to veto staff decisions made in university departments, thus taking power away from lecturers and reducing the intellectual autonomy of the university. The blockade has not only been victorious in this vein, but has also been crucial in opening a big public debate on higher education funding, with the vast majority of the public being in favour, even including many students who were against the tactics of the blockade (not knowing that the other main option students could take to voice their concerns, the student council (studentski zbor) had been coopted by a clique of corrupt social democrats close to the main political parties (HDZ, SDP etc) and who were keeping suspiciously silent regarding the struggle for a free education. A story which sounds familiar to many readers in England following the NUS debate perhaps?
Students voted yesterday (friday) to end the blockade and are now spending this weekend carefully tidying up the faculty building ready for a return to lectures on monday. The decision was made to continue with the blockade next term, having shown the government that they have the means, human-power and public opinion behind them, and that they are willing to continue to fight against the proposed neoliberal reforms until their goals are realised.

terça-feira, dezembro 15, 2009

National Call for a Strike and Day of Action to Defend Public Education [on March 4th, in USA]

California has recently seen a massive movement erupt in defense of public education — but layoffs, fee hikes, cuts, and the re-segregation of public education are attacks taking place throughout the country. A nationwide resistance movement is needed.
We call on all students, workers, teachers, parents, and their organizations and communities across the country to massively mobilize for a Strike and Day of Action in Defense of Public Education on March 4, 2010. Education cuts are attacks against all of us, particularly in working-class communities and communities of color.

The politicians and administrators say there is no money for education and social services. They say that “there is no alternative” to the cuts. But if there’s money for wars, bank bailouts, and prisons, why is there no money for public education?

We can beat back the cuts if we unite students, workers, and teachers across all sectors of public education — pre K-12, adult education, community colleges, and state-funded universities. We appeal to the leaders of the trade union movement to support and organize strikes and/or mass actions on March 4. The weight of workers and students united in strikes and mobilizations would shift the balance of forces entirely against the current agenda of cuts and make victory possible.

Building a powerful movement to defend public education will, in turn, advance the struggle in defense of all public-sector workers and services and will be an inspiration to all those fighting against the wars, for immigrants rights, in defense of jobs, for single-payer health care, and other progressive causes.

Why March 4? On October 24, 2009 more than 800 students, workers, and teachers converged at UC Berkeley at the Mobilizing Conference to Save Public Education. This massive meeting brought together representatives from over 100 different schools, unions, and organizations from all across California and from all sectors of public education. After hours of open collective discussion, the participants voted democratically, as their main decision, to call for a Strike and Day of Action on March 4, 2010. All schools, unions and organizations are free to choose their specific demands and tactics — such as strikes, rallies, walkouts, occupations, sit-ins, teach-ins, etc. — as well as the duration of such actions.

Let’s make March 4 an historic turning point in the struggle against the cuts, layoffs, fee hikes, and the re-segregation of public education.

The California Coordinating Committee

segunda-feira, dezembro 14, 2009

El Plan Bolonia explicado sin rodeos [video]

Aqui teneis a un decano (Juan Carlos Mejuto) de la Universidad de Vigo, aclarando de una vez que es Bolonia... Sin tonterias ni florituras.
El video entero dura 11 minutos (YouTube limita a 10) y partirlo era un poco raro, así que he dejado sólo lo referente a Bolonia, y no el trocito en que critíca el sistema universitario gallego. Si alguien quiere verlo entero, podeis sacarlo aqui.

sexta-feira, dezembro 11, 2009

DAY OF UNIversiTY will be @ 17th of December '09

Dear friends and occupants,

We are still here, those cr itical students who are not prepared to accept the current situation at our universities. The sale-out of education, access barriers and the de-democratization, which is going on at our universities, still need to be stopped, since the people in charge haven’t yet realized that it’s high time they reacted to our claims and angle off 180 degrees into the only right direction there is: the direction of free education without barriers.

Thus, the struggle against those who want to take us for fools a nd want to sell out our education, must continue – even before, during and after Christmas holidays.

Many people in Austria and other European countries have no idea about the fact that there are many more universities occupied than only the ones in their country. Many people don’t have the slightest idea that there are more than 100 universities either occupied or somehow involved in the protests. You can see the occupied universities under this location.

Many people have not yet realized that thousands of students all over the world are standing up for their rights, and not only fight for themselves, but also for the next generation and for a better future in general. It is now our job to stop the ignorance!

The people out there should realize that the protests are not only a “local” problem of each country, but that the whole society all over the world is affected by the grievance which we, the students, are pointing out and which against we are defending ourselves. Therefore, we would like to invite you to participate in the

DAY OF UNI(versi)TY – United for free education!

on Thursday, 17th Dezember 2009

Especially before Christmas, the majority of the consumption-oriented population is busy with shopping, instead of getting concerned about the real problems, whose solving is long overdue! Let’s wake up those people and let’s show them that we are standing behind our claim f for a free education in unity and that this issue concerns each and every one of us.

The "International Day of Action“ was yesterday. Tomorrow, we will appear before the public in unity under the slogan DAY OF UNI(versi)TY, far beyond our own country borders.

There are some universities which are not yet as widely mobilized as universities in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. That is why we have come up with the idea to plan a common operation/campaign/activity, which can or even should be carried out by all participants of the protest movement for free education in their cities. Of course, it would be great if this could happen simultaneously, in order to demonstrate our unity, despite spacial distances.

Continuar a ler o artigo...Our ideas:

On the 17th of December 2009 at 11 o’clock in the morning, students go out on the streets in numerous cities in Europe and worldwide. We will be equipped with signs, posters or banners which carry the names of all occupied or involved universities. The signs might say: “We are Heidelberg”, “We are Paris” or “We are Vienna”. The people should see in which cities universities are occupied and in which cities there are student protests.

At the same time, flyers can/should be handed out to passer-bys to inform them about the current situation. In the centre of each city a flashmob or different activity should take place. There are no limits as far as creativity is concerned!

Possible actions could be, for example, a “reading-demo”, which is a silent demo where all participants sit or lay down on the street and read or study something. Another possibility would be to act out some kind of choreography with the signs or to form a certain figure, like a country or a university. Another idea is to act out a scene in the style of a street theatre. Or what about a big pillow fight?

Anyway, it is important that we all have the signs with the occupied universities in common in order to demonstrate unity and solidarity. The more we are, the less they can ignore us!

Let’s not hide but stand up for our rights together!

The actions should, if possible, be video-taped. Afterwards we will put the sequences together and create a small documentary about the “Day of Unity”, including all the activities from the participating universities, which we will publish on YouTube.

Please let us know, whether you are interested in participating in the “Day of Unity”. If yes, then please organize yourself, mobilize and join the united movement. Inform the people out there, whether the media, friends, acquaintances, relatives, students of high schools, etc. Invite everybody to participate in solidarity in the event.

Everyone should know that and why we are here and that we won’t be gone too soon!

quinta-feira, dezembro 10, 2009

SFSU is occupied: mobilize support!!!

  • To those disaffected and affected by the budget cuts.

  • To those laid-off faculty who have been sent off this campus because Robert Corrigan values his six-figure income more than your pedagogy.

  • To those workers, always the unseen heroes who are the first to take the sacrifices.

  • To those janitors, who were denied from doing their jobs because of us. We do this for you.
40 years ago on this campus, San Francisco State College gave in to the demands of the 5-month Ethnic Studies strike, which gained valuable educational and economic opportunities for all Black and Third-World people. Self-determination for people of color was the word of the day, and although concessions were made, the struggle for self-determination of the working-class has not ended, but is going through a new phase of global class struggle intensified by the polarization of capital and labor.

Also 40 years ago, Indians of All Nations took a famous federal property known as Alcatraz Island, or The Rock, and again occupied the land that Lakota Indians had taken years prior unsuccessfully. The organizers, American Indians from tribes all across the continent, included young Richard Oakes, a Mohawk SF State student. The occupation lasted 19 months, whereby the IAN demanded a new American Indian Center on the unused surplus property, created a Bureau of Caucasian Affairs to deal with the white man, and purchased the island with feathers and beads worth more than the money paid to the native inhabitants of Manhattan Island by colonialists.

We Are Still Here

Continuar a ler o artigo...The legacy of the militant student and working-class movements of the 1960’s lit the revolutionary consciousness of the globe, from the Latin-American workers’ struggles to the anti-colonial uprisings in Africa, and back home to the Black Panther Party in Oakland and the Third World Liberation Front. These movements challenged not only the dominant capitalist hegemony through class struggle, they spread new ideas of how to struggle.

Universities worldwide, like those in Austria, in Greece, Germany and our comrades across the bay at UC Berkeley have recently used the tactic of occupation as a means to challenge bourgeois property relations, where not production but knowledge and ideas are socially produced but privately appropriated for the ruling class, which categorizes and divides the working-class into hierarchal constructions that reproduce our high-level managers at the UC’s, our technical workers at the CSU’s, and the lower layers of the proletariat left to the crumbs of a community college education meaningless in this capitalist crisis; great training for the workplace, where the administration becomes the corporate board, the professor becomes the boss, and the tailist union bureaucrats become…well, I guess some things stay the same. The student is the worker, adding use-value to her education for future exploitation and extraction of surplus-value.

Although occupation, or reclaiming space, is not a historically new idea, it is a new form of struggle for many of those disillusioned with the promises of lobbying, those too tired of petitioning “our” elected leaders, those who have lost all faith in politics as they know it. As direct actions like these redefine socially-acceptable modes of protest, occupations themselves redefine the power-relations at the site of struggle. We are occupying because we understand that the budget cuts, which are manifestations of capital in its search for untouched investment and the prospect of profits, are enforced through our consent, through our submission, when we focus the gaze of rebellion at the self-imposed sites of bourgeois political debate and conflict like the Capitol Building in Sacramento, or even its local subsidiary office labelled Administration Building at every elementary school, at every junior high, every high school, every college and university.

Our power as working-class people does not reside in the uneven and rigged political game where winners are chosen by their capacity to pacify those who wish to change the system, by their capacity to coerce the oppressed into rolling the dice one more time for the sake of chance: the opportunity that this time, maybe this time, change can come peacefully for the benefit of those subject to endless waves of unemployment, for the benefit of those faced with the racism of the workplace, for the benefit of those attacked by sexism and homophobia on the streets. The reclaiming of space that is occurring as we write this statement is a challenge to the assumption that politics and the power of political control is only suited for white-male representatives in black suits. The real power exists here, at the site of exploitation, be it the school or the workplace. We plant the seeds of these institutions as workers, students, staff, and faculty, constantly maintaining and watering them, looking after them as a gardener takes after hir garden, but we are not allowed to enjoy the fruits of that labor. This is the contradiction exposed.

By redefining and reclaiming these spaces, we expose the true violent nature of our society. After escalated police violence on the UC campuses in Los Angeles and Berkeley, student occupiers rightly proclaimed that “behind every fee increase, a line of riot police.” In this structure, the Business Building of San Francisco State University, usually occupied by financial advisors for war-profiteering companies, there is no business as usual. Outside, the invisible hand of the market is holding a gun, revealing itself to us with a badge emblazoned “UPD”. The act of occupation is violent because it is a threat; we are not those who wield weapons, we are not those who possess the means to subordinate people to not just physical violence, but the psychological violence that disempowers us to believe that we do not have the power to resist and fight back.

Then again, We Are Still Here

quarta-feira, dezembro 09, 2009

Jovens ocupam Politécnico de Atenas (Grécia)

Depois de uma manifestação, em memória do adolescente morto há um ano pela polícia, um grupo de jovens ocupou a Escola Politécnica de Atenas.
Cerca de 300 jovens conseguiram [no passado domingo, dia 6] ocupar a Escola Politécnica de Atenas, no centro da capital grega, a seguir a uma manifestação de estudantes em memória do adolescente morto há um ano por um polícia.

O grupo lançou cocktails molotov contra as forças policiais que faziam um perímetro de segurança junto à escola, incendiando dois automóveis e vários caixotes do lixo. Importantes forças anti-motim foram então destacadas para reforçar a segurança no local, o bairro de Exarchia.

Esporadicamente, segundo jornalistas no local, grupos de jovens saem dos edifícios da escola para lançar pedras e cocktails molotov sobre as grades para a grande avenida para a qual o estabelecimento dá, fechada ao trânsito pela polícia.

A Escola Politécnica já tinha servido de refúgios aos manifestantes durante os confrontos que em Dezembro do ano passado se seguiram à morte de Alexis Grigoropoulos, de 15 anos.

Durante as manifestações [no passado domingo, dia 6], a polícia esforçou-se por impedir o acesso às Universidades, em virtude de uma lei que limita consideravelmente acções policiais dentro dos estabelecimentos de ensino.

Essa lei, que a Direita considera estimular a impunidade dos desordeiros, foi adoptada na sequência da violenta repressão da revolta estudantil contra a junta militar (1967-74) ocorrida na Escola Politécnica a 17 de Novembro de 1973.

terça-feira, dezembro 08, 2009

Spread the word: UC Berkeley reoccupied!!!

Yesterday (Monday, December 7) members of the University of California community reoccupied Wheeler Hall, the site of the November 20 police attacks on UC students.
Keep up to date on the occupation at

segunda-feira, dezembro 07, 2009

Kritische und Solidarische Universität (KriSU)

From 5. to 6. Dec. about 50 activists occupied a vacant building in the Universitätsstraße, Vienna. The building once was part of the university of Vienna, and has been sold by the Bundesimmobiliengesellschaft. The aim of the occupation was to emphasize the demand for space for the Solidarity University (KriSU). The occupied building was formerly used for academic activities and is a victim of privatization in the framework of the neoliberal attack. It was privatized despite the acute need for space for universities and the urgency of selfmanaged and free space for emancipative education.

This occupation is the kick-off of further activities in order to build up the Solidarity University in Vienna. Activists will continue the struggle for adequate space for KriSU.

KriSU aims towards a lively integration of research, teaching and praxis, according to the principles of selfmanagement, feminism and anti-discrimination. It strives for a non-commercial, emancipative space independent from the state. KriSU wants to organize a university for all, regardless of formal educational degrees. It wants to produce knowledge for an alternative to capitalism that leads out of the fundamental crisis, together with a variety of different societal groups. KriSU is working for a Solidarity Economy based on cooperation, selfmanagement and community orientation.

domingo, dezembro 06, 2009

A statement in support of the Faculty, students and staff of the University of California from the University of Southern Maine Faculty Senate

We, members of the University of Southern Maine (USM) Faculty Senate, cannot remain indifferent in front of the repression by the police of the protest which the students of the University of California (UC) have organized against the decision by the UC administration to layoff many faculty and staff and raise tuition fees by 32%. It is unacceptable that a mass mobilization in defense of the California system of education be addressed with batons.

Equally important, the de-funding of the California education system is a defeat also for teachers, staff and students in Maine and across the country, given the important role that UC has played in the history of public higher education in North America, and the example this policy sets for other university administrators.

Already, in state after state, in the name of the economic crisis, university budgets are slashed, jobs are terminated, and rising tuition fees are forcing students out of the universities, which are thereby becoming accessible only to the well-to-do. It may be only a matter of time until many of us face the same cuts the UC students, staff and faculty are now protesting and have to choose between capitulation to an unjust policy or brutalization.

Consequently, we, members of the USM Faculty Senate, express our support of the resistance which the UC faculty, staff and students have organized against lay-offs, furloughs, and tuition increases, and call upon the California legislature, the governor, and the UC governing board to rescind such a disastrous policy. We also condemn the violent suppression of the non-violent protest of the UC faculty, staff and students and call for the release of all students arrested and the dropping of the charges against them.

quinta-feira, dezembro 03, 2009

quarta-feira, dezembro 02, 2009

Students beaten and brutally evicted in Frankfurt

This afternoon the president of the Goethe University of Frankfurt/M threatened the occupiers of the "Casino" [a building on campus] that he will exercise property rights, if they don't leave the building within 10 minutes. Most students were not intimidated and decided to stay. One professor also stayed and defended the students' position.

Soon after [6.10pm CET] special police forces stormed the place.

The students, together with the professor, barricaded themself inside the "ballroom" and were beginning their scheduled alternative seminar titled "What does emancipatory education mean?". Soon after the police managed to break through and entered the place. The windows were covered [to prevent the media from taking footages of the eviction] and everyone inside was encircled by the police. The robocops asked the media to leave the room - those who didn't follow instructions immediately were pressured to do so.

Students linked arms with each other, but didn't actively resist. So they were carried outside - all 130 of them. Hundreds gathered outside the building [but still on campus] and protested in support and against repression. Soon they were attacked by police forces as well - mostly with batons. Various students were injured and had to be transfered to the hospital. One girl had two fingers broken. Some were chased through the city.

In the end 300 students were ID'd [incl. photographed and fingerprints taken]. Hundreds received bans from campus or even the city by the police. Many are expected to be tried and are charged with "breach of domestic peace" [among others]. At least 2 students were taken into custody.

Soon after the eviction many gathered inside the "autonomous space" on campus called "Koz" to discuss on how to continue. People are angry and will not give up so easily.

As a direct reaction to these incidents about 50 students spontaneously decided to protest through the inner city of Marburg [Germany] to inform the public about the violence.

Further acts in Solidarity of the students in Frankfurt/M and against repression & police violence are most welcome.

terça-feira, dezembro 01, 2009

Students protests in Serbia are on a high tide

Wave of student struggle is sweeping over the streets of Serbian capital, Belgrade. Three marches of some 1,500 students held on Monday, Wednesday and Friday have marked a new phase in student organising. These protests were the most massive and political ones in the past 10 years. It was also the first time for us to block two main bridges that connect two halves of city – we blocked Branko’s bridge on Wednesday and Friday and Gazela on Friday, after protesting in front of an international conference on Bologna reforms. Our last two protests also had one important person in the front row – Joe the dredger, who is a symbol of the 5th of October 2000 revolution, when we toppled the hated president Milosevic.

The six demands we’ve had by now all deal with specific problems that came out of neoliberal and bologna reforms of education. Protests were started by the official student representatives, led by the president of the Student parliament of University in Belgrade, who is also a member of the ruling party. Never the less, our student group Another University is Possible, that stands against the bologna reforms and for free education for all, made some crucial interventions in coalition with other student representatives who want to see this protest win – pushing towards generalising our demands and connecting with our collegues internationally, as well as with workers. We’ve printed hundreds of bulletins, together with a letter of support from Austria, which was then repeatedly cited in the biggest Serbian daily.

Yesterday, we were supposed to have another meeting with the government, but instead the president of the Student parliament got a statement in which the government ‘promisses’ to fulfill five out of six demands, without saying when or how they will do that. As most of us expected, he decided to end the protest and called his collegues to go back home. The rest of us realized that we were scammed, so we immediately organised a plenum of a few hundred students where we decided to demand that those representatives who failed us step down, but also to radicalise our demands and tactics – we are now talking about organising democratically, occupying our Universities and demanding free education for all.

We already won the support of three trade unions, one inter-striking cometee and union of taxi and truck drivers. Next Monday we will be protesting with the support of some 200-300 taxi veachles, and on Tuesday we should be accompanied by other workers who supported us.

This is presenting a huge problem for our government who only just managed to get a huge loan from Russia and prevent the worker struggls from exploding. This is why any kind of international support is crucial to us at the moment. We must connect our struggle with the current struggles worldwide. The next week will be crucial.

One world – one struggle!

Call for International Day of Action: 5th December

Worldwide action – Mass Rally in Vienna
All over the globe people are fighting against a continuous deterioration of education systems. Starting from Austria and Germany at the 23rd of October 2009 a wave of protests, squats of university buildings, strikes, general assembles and other activities has swapped over to many other countries.

Nevertheless media and politics still do not regard the importance of this international movement. That's why we want to put things right!

Next Saturday, the 5th of December 2009 will be the next International Day of Action. In Vienna we are planning a mass rally with participants from the whole country. In the other Universities of Austria we will draw attention once again with smaller creative activities!

This call goes out to all of us! Students, Pupils, Teachers, Researchers! United we are strong! Education is not for sale!

Everyone can participate in this global campaign! Public discussions, demonstrations, street theatre, protest songs, strikes, squats of public buildings, info campaigns, letters to th editors, flash mobs, window flags, sit-ins, etc.

What do you think about a joint flash mob, doing the same thing, at the same time, in all countries?

We are looking forward to a strong international campaign!

segunda-feira, novembro 30, 2009

Universidades europeias têm falta de autonomia

As Universidades europeias têm falta de autonomia, segundo um estudo da Associação Europeia de Universidades (AEI) e que recolheu contributos de 34 conferências de reitores, incluindo de Portugal.
O estudo, divulgado hoje, em Bruxelas, abrange os sistemas dos 27 Estados-membros da União Europeia (sendo que na Bélgica existem dois, o flamengo e o francófono), e ainda da Croácia, Islândia, Noruega, Sérvia, Suíça e Turquia. O documento foi dividido em quatro áreas de autonomia: organizacional, financeira, de recursos humanos e académica.

Segundo o estudo, é necessária uma maior autonomia nas Universidades europeias para estas poderem “enfrentar novas exigências”, nomeadamente a necessidade de “maior e melhor liderança e gestão” .

Outro desafio que se coloca às instituições, segundo a AEI, é a “necessidade de novos técnicos e peritos em diversas áreas”.

A autonomia financeira foi a que, segundo o estudo, se revelou mais problemática, uma vez que a maioria das conferências de reitores a considerou “um desafio actual ou fututo”.

Entre os problemas relatados, contam-se os “baixos níveis de financiamento público” e o curto-prazo dos contratos de financiamento “que torna o planeamento difícil”.

A relação com os ministros da tutela foi outro ponto sensível apontado, nomeadamente por manifesta “falta de visão a longo-prazo para o que se quer das Universidades.

No que respeita à organização, o estudo avaliou itens como estruturas e corpos governativos, para concluir que Portugal se inclui no grupo de dez países em que as estruturas académicas e corpos dirigentes, como o reitor, obedecem a um enquadramento jurídico, enquanto na maior parte dos sistemas avaliados as instituições decidem por si mesmas. Neste campo, a academia portuguesa inclui o grupo das universidades menos autónomas.

A autonomia financeira define-se pela capacidade de angariar fundos, a forma como são captadas verbas – nomeadamente com cobrança de propinas – e a possibilidade de as instituições poderem acumular rendimentos. Portugal está no grupo que tem de devolver verbas estatais que não tenham sido utilizadas, tal como a Turquia, Chipre, Roménia, Letónia, Lituânia e Sérvia.

Ainda neste campo, se, por um lado, as Universidades portuguesas cobram propinas para gerar receitas, por outro estão impedidas de recorrer ao crédito bancário, tal como instituições de outros 11 países. Uma maioria de 22 sistemas permitem às instituições de ensino superior o recurso ao crédito bancário.

No que respeita aos recursos humanos, em 25 dos sistemas analisados (incluindo o português) os salários são estipulados pela universidade, mas na academia portuguesa há ainda funcionários públicos, situação que tem vindo a ser alterada. Na República Checa, Eslováquia e Islândia só trabalham nas Universidades funcionários públicos.

A autonomia académica é praticamente generalizada nos casos estudados, mas, na maior parte dos casos, quando as instituições organizam novos programas académicos têm que os submeter à aprovação das autoridades competentes, que os avaliam. Em Portugal, como na maior parte dos casos analisados, os critérios de admissão são estipulados pela Universidade. No entanto, o sistema de quotas regulado pelo Estado apenas vigora em mais sete países.

Em 14 países são as Universidades que estipulam o número de alunos a admitir em cada curso e noutros 12 o regime simplesmente não existe.

sábado, novembro 28, 2009

Supporting students in Croatia for free education

On Monday, April 20th 2009, the independent student initiative for the right to free education started a peaceful occupation of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb, Croatia. The occupation lasted for 35 five days, until May 24th, when the students voted to suspend the occupation.
The students who organized the occupation demand the right to free education for all and the elimination of all tuition fees, at all levels of higher education: undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate. During the occupation, everyone was free to enter and leave the Faculty building, but regular classes were not held. Instead, students organized an alternative educational program, which consisted of lectures, public discussions, workshops, movie screenings and other happenings. Everyone was free to attend these happenings, whether they were students or not.

Every evening, students held an open assembly (plenum or plenary session) in which all students and citizens were allowed to participate. (After the occupation ended, the plenary sessions were held once a week, except for six weeks during Summer break). At the plenary sessions they discussed the situation and decided whether they would continue with the occupation the next day. Everyone was free to attend the plenum, to participate in discussions and to vote, whether they were students or ordinary citizens. The issue of the right to free education is not one that concerns only the students, it is an issue of relevance for the future of the entire society, therefore every member of the society has the right to participate in decision making at the plenary sessions.

So far, we have received numerous letters of support from individuals and organizations, both at home and from abroad. Among those who have expressed support for our cause are Noam Chomsky, Judith Butler and Slavoj Žižek. Full list of who supports us can be accessed here.
Sign the PETITION!!!
UPDATE: The students at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb have started another peaceful occupation of their faculty on November 23rd.

sexta-feira, novembro 27, 2009

Estudiantes de la Federación Universitaria de Buenos Aires tomaron el Nacional Buenos Aires

El rectorado de la UBA suspendió la elección de representantes de profesores y graduados al Consejo Superior fijadas para mañana y reportó que el Colegio Nacional no dictará clases en lo que resta de la semana.
El rectorado que conduce Rubén Hallú informó en un comunicado que "las autoridades del Colegio Nacional de Buenos Aires se vieron obligadas a suspender las clases del turno noche en la jornada y de todos los turnos en el día de mañana", por la presencia de estudiantes que se oponen a la votación de los representantes que elegirán rector.

La universidad recordó que "el martes 17 de noviembre se realizó la Asamblea para elegir consejeros superiores del claustro de estudiantes, donde los representantes de la FUBA [Federación Universitaria de Buenos Aires] participaron sin inconvenientes" y donde obtuvieron la mayoría por ese sector al Consejo Superior.

La FUBA se opone a la realización de la Asamblea Universitaria fijada para el 14 de diciembre para elegir rector, tras la caducidad del mandato de Hallú, por considerar que los funcionarios "pretenden impedir la democratización del cogobierno universitario, adelantando ilegal e ilegítimamente la elección".

Mañana deberían tener lugar las asambleas de claustros para la elección de representantes de profesores y graduados en el Consejo Superior, pero se supendieron por la ocupación del Colegio.

Cristian Henkel, presidente de la FUBA, cuestionó que la renovación de consejeros del claustro de profesores que se iba a realizar mañana "es la antesala de una Asamblea Universitaria donde una minoría de 2000 profesores titulares concursados (el 0,5 por ciento de quienes integramos la universidad) tendrá el 52 por ciento de la representación".

Finalmente, sostuvo que ellos "determinarán el rumbo de la universidad a espaldas de 300 mil estudiantes, 40 mil profesores y 10 mil no docentes".

More info...Alunos invadiram Reitoria da Universidade de Buenos Aires no dia em que novo reitor da USP foi escolhido: na Argentina e em Lisboa, eleição é indireta, igual à USP; alunos só votam na Espanha.

terça-feira, novembro 24, 2009

Map of University occupations in Europe

Click here to better see the Map of University occupations in Europe

segunda-feira, novembro 23, 2009

The University of Hamburg is not happy with Dieter Lenzen because Trustees and AS “push-through procedure”

(Hamburg 20.11.2009) - Today, the Academic Senate (AS) from the University of Hamburg, confirmed Dieter Lenzen as president. Alone the short notice for the meeting in the heavily secured DESY Bahrenfeld speaks volumes – the whole process was not designed to be democratic or transparent and excluded a college audience completely. The university president should represent the entire university and be able to present him or herself publicly. Nothing like this was the case, although on Thursday more than 1,000 students called for public presentation. Many of the students and staff of the University and also the squatters of the Audimax lecture hall hold the confirmation of Lenzen as unjust – as they do the process and even the candidate Lenzen.

Lenzen himself in his speech to the AS patronizingly gave the impression: that considering he was “popularly” elected, he’ll take the job. This borders on extortion. Certainly we shall once again criticize the insidious tactics of the selection committee led by Albrecht Wagner. Firstly the deletion of certain candidates from the shortlist, before they could present themselves narrowed all margins and put those involved in the decision-making process under pressure. The logic behind this is: whoever rejects any of these candidates will only harm the university further (Eat or Die tactic). With this banal argument every candidate in this “electoral process” has been pushed through. To talk of voting is impossible because elections must always have something to do with choice and transparency. We would like to affirm at this point that we reject the decisions of the committee of the High school board at this time because of it’s lack of democratic legitimacy.

Continuar a ler o artigo...After confirmation some AS members came to the occupied Audimax, to read aloud the official press statement from the university – not a word mentioned the displeasure of many niversity members about procedures or the candidates – and questions were raised. One thing was clear, some of the AS members have had significant concerns about the procedure, which they have not expressed in public. We believe such an attitude to “voting” is fatal – because it is easy in retrospect, to criticize things, but does not allow them to be reversed immediately. The AS-member Prof. Schnapp argued that the hastily made decision dated back to the confusing conditions of the AS session held on Thursday at the Mineralogical Museum. This is a flimsy argument because had there been no protests on Thursday against the procedure and the candidates to be elected Lenzen would have been confirmed on that day. This statement distracts from the fact that procedures have been consciously disregarded, providing for a period of time between the election and confirmation of the Higher Education Council of the AS.

Some members of AS reported that Dieter Lenzen had convinced them of his candidacy, among other things, because he wanted to maintain democratic and transparent higher education regulations and structures at the university. (What does this mean?). In this and other controversial points, we doubt that all the members of AS have conscientiously informed themselves about the candidate Lenzen. A call to the AS-members of the Free University of Berlin would have been enough to learn that they must consistently threaten him with the involvement of the local administrative court to exercise their democratic rights. The current FU presidency at the local bureau in Berlin, acting under Dieter Lenzen is anything but “inclusive”. Rather Lenzen makes use of emergency-type test clauses frequently in the Berlin Higher Education – so that the academic self-government suffers as a result.

We will convert our anger at this decision into energy and ensure that Dieter Lenzen will not stay here long. It would be better if he chose not to accept the position. We also hope that he takes his leave from the students at the Free University Berlin, where he has also been adopted. No university needs Dieter Lenzen!

In Hamburg we are reviewing different strategies. One thing is certain: Lenzen is not our president, so we will speak of him in future only by the title “candidate Lenzen”.

videos from Berkeley - University of California

A policeman uses his baton outside of Wheeler. on Twitpic

domingo, novembro 22, 2009

Third day of fee protests at California Universities

Demonstrators entered their third day of a building takeover at UC Santa Cruz on Saturday in protest of a tuition increase, an undertaking that a school spokesman called futile.

The occupation of Kerr Hall is just one of several demonstrations across University of California campuses this week after the regent's board approved a 32 percent increase in tuition Thursday.

University officials said the $505 million to be raised by the tuition increases is needed to prevent even deeper cuts than those already made due to California's persistent financial crisis.

Protesting students said the increase will hurt working and middle-class students who benefit from state-funded education.

On the Santa Cruz campus, where building occupations began last week with a library sit-in, about 100 students staged a sit-in in the second-floor lobby of Kerr Hall soon after hearing that the tuition increase had been approved, according to UC Santa Cruz Provost David Kliger.

The students made a list of 20 "demands" detailing how they want the administration to increase funding, spokesman Barry Shiller said. But the school has no plans to negotiate the demands with the student body, he said. The school just doesn't have the money, he added.

School officials hope the students realize that their demonstration is "not accomplishing anything" and is "just a disruption" to administrative duties on campus, he said.

The administration will continue to wait out the takeover, but Shiller said he is unsure of how long it will last. The school hopes the students will leave voluntarily, he said.

Read More...Are you there? Share your story, video...

Meanwhile, uprisings on other campuses have quieted since earlier mass demonstrations.

At UC Berkeley on Friday night, 41 protesters occupying a building were arrested. Authorities decided to cite them for trespassing and release them rather than take them to jail, per an agreement with student leaders, school spokeswoman Claire Holmes said. Three students were arrested there Friday morning.

Fifty-two students were arrested at UC Davis late Thursday after they refused to vacate the school's administration building.

And UCLA's Campbell Hall was occupied for several hours Thursday evening.

The angry students are condemning a nearly $2,000 tuition increase.

The first change, which takes effect in January, will raise undergraduate tuition to $8,373. The second increase kicks in next fall, raising tuition to $10,302, university spokeswoman Leslie Sepuka said.

Students who live on campus could pay an estimated $17,200 in additional fees that include the annual cost of books and housing, according to the system's July 2008 finance guide.

The January increase of about 15 percent is more than double the average public university tuition increase last year.

On average, tuition and fees at four-year public universities nationwide increased 6.5 percent, or to $7,020, since the previous school year, according to data from College Board.

Students eligible for financial aid and whose families make less than $70,000 will have their tuition covered, the university said.

SAVE the University [@ UC Berkeley]

SAVE the University is a UC Berkeley faculty group dedicated to preserving student access and academic quality at University of California.

sábado, novembro 21, 2009

University of California, Santa Cruz: over 500 students are occupying the Kresge Town Hall

Click here to read more infos... Demands:

1. Repeal the 32% fee increase
2. Stop all current construction on campus
3. UC funds and budget are made transparent
4. Verbal and written commitment to Master Plan
5. Total amnesty to all people occupying buildings and involved in student protest concerning budget cuts including: Doug G., and Brian Glasscock and Olivia Egan Rudolph
6. Keep all resource centers open: engaging education, women's resource center, and all other diversity centers
7. Keep the campus child-care center open
8. Repeal cuts to the Community Studies Field Program
9. Re-funding the CMMU field studies coordinator positions
10. Get verbal and written agreement from admins to shut-down campus for one day for the purpose of educating students on the budget cuts
11. Said support for AB656
12. Said commitment to work-study for all who are eligible
13. Making UC Santa Cruz a safe campus for all undocumented (AB540) students and workers
14. Keeping LALS professors Guillermo Delgado & Susan Jonas
15. Repeal all furloughs to all campus employees, renege the 15% cut in labor time for custodians
16. Stop the gutting of funding for fellowships and TAships and the re-instatement of TAs who lost their jobs due the budget cuts from this quarter
17. Re-prioritizing funding so that essential student services i.e. the library get adequate funding to ensure regular library hours
18. Censure Mark Yudof
19. Un-arming UC police of all weapons including tasers
20. NO SCPD police allowed on campus
21. An apology from the regents and the state
22. Creating a free and permanent organizing space on campus for student activists and organizers (first options: Kresge Town Hall)
23. Due process for students:
a. trial by peers
b. constitutional rights for students tried under the UC judicial system
24. Making rent affordable for Family Student Housing, ensuring that the price does not exceed that of operating costs

Long Term:
1. no student fees
2. return to master plan
3. abolition of regents' positions
4. abolition of all student debts
5. tripling of funds from the state to public universities
6. all eligible students get work-study
7. highest UC salaries are tied proportionally to the lowest waged workers
8. Impeach Mark Yudof
9. Representation of students and faculty equal to UCOP/UC Regents
10. All UCSC tuition fees stay at UCSC
11. UC Money is only invested to education
a. cut ties with Lockheed Martin, Los Alamos & Livermore National Labs

The Occupants

Other strikes links:

Many protests of students across Germany

90,000 lecturers, pupils, students, parents and workers across Germany protested against the increasing commercialisation and privatisation of Education (as well as the implementation of the "Bologna Process").More info...
  • 3,000 protesters on a demonstration in Essen; police attacks demonstration: 154 temporary arrests []

  • Further demonstrations took place in the following cities (with the number of protesters in brackets): Aachen (2,000; pix), Wiesbaden (10,000), Berlin (25,000;, Heidelberg (2,500), Munich (10,000), Mainz (3,000), Darmstadt (500), Osnabrück (2,000; pix), Düsseldorf (4,000), Potsdam (1,000), Jena (1,500), Bonn (2,500), Bochum (700), Hannover (1,000), Cologne (3,000, pix), Regensburg (1,000), Freiburg (5,000; report), Karlsruhe (500), Duisburg/Essen (3,000) and Nürnberg (5,000) = a total of ~ 83,200 protesters

  • Lecture halls were occupied by students in Germany at the following institutions: College of Education in Weingarten, Georg-Simon-Ohm University of Applied Sciences (Erlangen; pix), University of Nürnberg-Erlangen (largest lecture hall "Audimax" in Erlangen), University of Applied Sciences in Kaiserslautern, University of Bonn [but evicted by police force shortly; pix], University of Applied Sciences in Potsdam, University of Augsburg [pix], University of Erfurt, University of Münster [re-occupied after eviction on Nov.6th], University of Jena [although police was using pepper spray on campus], Academy of Fine Arts in Nürnberg, University of Passau, University of Paderborn, University of Cologne, University of Tübingen [re-occupied after eviction on Nov.11th], University of Trier, Otto-Friedrich University of Bamberg, University of Karlsruhe, University of Siegen, Technical University of Braunschweig and Academy of Arts in Braunschweig.

University sit-ins spread throughout Switzerland

Hundreds of students have occupied the biggest lecture hall at Bern University, preventing more than 1,000 other students from attending lectures.

The protests have taken place as part of Global Week of Action – motto "Education is not for sale" – which has seen students targeting the educational machine in several European cities. In Switzerland lecture halls have been occupied in Basel, Zurich and Bern.
Continue to read this text..."Around 1,200 students have been affected," said Christoph Pappa, Bern University's general secretary. "The university administration has noted the protests, but we still don't know what their concrete demands are."

Around 100 students spent Tuesday night in the auditorium – something that hadn't been planned but followed on spontaneously from events earlier in the day - International Students' Day - when some 300 students occupied the auditorium.

The main grievances are the implementation of the Bologna reforms, the commercialisation of education (in the form of industry sponsorship), student fees and the fact that university syllabuses are allegedly becoming more like those in schools.

The Bologna educational reforms are part of the European Union's 1999 Bologna Declaration, signed by Switzerland and 45 other countries. The idea behind Bologna is to harmonise qualifications across Europe so that students and staff can move freely between universities, and the degrees they hold are recognised in every country.

Pappa pointed out that surveys last year revealed that most students judged the Bologna reforms positively.

Nevertheless he said he sympathised with criticism of certain elements of the reforms, such as the fact that instead of being given responsibility and encouraged to think for themselves, students were being spoon-fed information for regular tests.

This "exam factory" complaint was echoed by Daniel, a geography and history student.

"The big problem is that the Bologna process stops education," he told beneath a hammock in Bern University's auditorium on Wednesday.

"You can't reflect on things because you no longer have time to think and to try to go really deeply into a subject. It's not an education."

He added that another big problem in Switzerland was that the Bologna process had been in force for ten years "so people are used to it – it's not like in Germany where everything is new".

"I've been into politics for a long time so I have a solid understanding about why things are going wrong – neo-liberalisation and capitalist structures – but I think a lot of people have a feeling that things are no longer what they should be but they can't really articulate what they think, and that's a big problem."

Another issue discussed in the auditorium was whether the public education system was still serving the interests of the public, or whether the focus was shifting to implement education systems that primarily serve private and business interests.

"We're concerned that the university is becoming a place where economics comes first and then education. We want a free and critical education – not some sort of training for employment," Luca, a sociology student, told

He added that this creeping commercialisation of education was more of a problem in natural sciences "where Novartis and companies like that sponsor [courses]", but he feared that "if nothing changes, we'll see other companies trying to influence what is taught".

On Wednesday the Swiss Trade Union Federation said in a statement it was delighted by the strong participation and expressed solidarity with the students in Basel, Zurich and Bern in particular.

Michael, studying economics and political science, told he wasn't surprised by the level of support.

"I think there are many students who are angry. You can't see it in everyday life as you have a tough programme and exams, but then things happen that make people angry," he said.

"For example, the political sciences institute has just scrapped a module on the social sciences BA without telling the students who subscribed [to that course]. They are now arriving without knowing that they are in fact studying something else."

He believed many people were interested in the issues, but never got around to doing anything about it.

"But when you have something like this, you see many people protesting – and not just people who normally demonstrate but a wide variety of students. This is very important and positive."

Daniel, when asked how long the occupation of the auditorium would continue, was philosophical.

"It depends how long people want to stay.

Student protests all over Italy

According to Unione degli Studenti (UdS), 150 000 pupils and students in more than 50 cities across Italy took to the streets to protest education reforms and the increasing commercialisation and privatisation of public education.

More infos...The following list of cities (and number of protesters in brackets) was published by UdS: Rome (10,000), Turin (15,000), Genoa (5,000), Naples (10,000), Bari (7,000), Lecce (2,000), Florence (3,000), Cosenza (3,000), Salerno (8,000) and many other cities.

quinta-feira, novembro 19, 2009

domingo, novembro 15, 2009

Mass student protests in Denmark

On the 6th of October, 30 000 students gathered in the cities of Copenhagen, Aarhus, Viborg, Odense, Sønderborg and Aalborg, to protest against budget cuts in Danish school. Furthermore 60 schools were occupied by the students at least one day before the demonstration. The name of the campaign and the initiative organizing the protests is called Out of the crisis – into the future and consists of all the students organizations of Denmark and the young trade-union movement.

“The government has made cut downs every year for the last 10 years and it’s the wrong way to go in an economic crisis”, says the spoke man of the initiative and the president of the organization of Danish upper secondary school students (DGS) Bjarke Dahl Mogensen. “Education is the future and to inject money to education is an investment. The vocational school students don’t have training places and in upper secondary school we sit way too many students in the class rooms. The unemployment of youth is increasing enormously – we don’t want to be garbage generation, we need investments and action from the politicians!”

Since the demonstration in the beginning of October more money have been promised to the university students and party of the opposition have said that they will vote for a limit of size of the classrooms – so now there is majority for a limit if we get a new government. The supporting party of the Danish government has said that they will not vote for budget cuts on education. But if they do what they have promised is doubtful, since the final reading of the Budget proposal is still waiting. So the Danish students continue the fight.

«Equidade no Ensino Superior», opinião de Sandra Monteiro (directora do «Monde Diplomatique» PT)

Nos últimos vinte anos, o ensino superior em Portugal passou por profundas transformações, do modelo de financiamento ao novo regime jurídico das instituições do ensino superior, passando pela reforma de Bolonha e pelas alterações do estatuto da carreira docente. O início da nova legislatura, até porque combina uma solução de continuidade na pasta do Ensino Superior com uma previsível revitalização do debate político e parlamentar, é um bom momento para a sociedade reflectir criticamente sobre todas estas alterações, para fazer um balanço que tenha em conta os dados empíricos entretanto disponíveis e para ajustar os caminhos futuros de um ensino superior democrático e de qualidade.

Poderá começar-se pelo modelo de financiamento. Há quase duas décadas opuseram-se duas concepções. A primeira correspondia à defesa do contrato social até então em vigor e apoiava-se no texto Constitucional, que prevê que o Estado deve assegurar o carácter universal e tendencialmente gratuito do ensino. Afirmava que o ensino superior deve constituir um serviço público cujo funcionamento corrente deve ser financiado pelo orçamento de Estado, de modo a que uma fiscalidade progressiva actue como mecanismo de redistribuição do rendimento e de promoção da justiça social, propiciando a todos, independentemente da origem socioeconómica da família em que se nasceu, condições de maior equidade no acesso ao saber e ao desenvolvimento das competências susceptíveis de propiciar uma sociedade menos desigual. Um regime de bolsas e de apoio social deveria ajudar a superar as situações de exclusão prevalecentes.

A segunda concepção defendia o fim da «gratuitidade» do ensino superior – que supostamente desresponsabilizava o aluno e desvalorizava o grau –, o que devia ser feito através da introdução de propinas, mais ou menos aproximadas do custo real do ensino, segundo as versões, como forma de assegurar o aumento da qualidade das formações e dos diplomas. Esta perspectiva sustentava ainda que o novo modelo de financiamento, através de diferentes escalões de pagamentos e isenções, faria com que os estudantes de maiores rendimentos pagassem propinas mais elevadas, para financiar o ensino dos estudantes mais pobres. A Lei 20/92, de 14 de Agosto, promulgada durante o governo de Aníbal Cavaco Silva no quadro de uma intensa contestação estudantil, fez até questão de sublinhar a ideia de que as propinas não serviriam para desresponsabilizar o Estado e pagar as despesas correntes (salários, etc.), definindo-as como receitas «a afectar, prioritariamente, à prossecução de uma política de acção social e às acções que visem promover o sucesso educativo». Prioritariamente... A cada instituição incumbia a fixação anual do montante das propinas, com base num valor máximo definido pelo Conselho de Reitores das Universidades Portuguesas (CRUP), e pelo órgão equivalente no ensino politécnico.

Do preço simbólico de 1200 escudos (cerca de 6 euros) antes da nova lei, as propinas passaram a ter um valor médio de 300 euros em 1995 e de 900 euros em 2005. Hoje, quase todos os estabelecimentos públicos, confrontados com um crónico subfinanciamento estatal que põe em causa o normal funcionamento das instituições, aplicam a propina máxima (972,14 euros), uma das mais altas da União Europeia (só dois países praticam valores mais elevados e sete não cobram qualquer montante). O modelo de financiamento com propinas, além de não ter contribuído para melhorar a qualidade do ensino, promoveu o recurso ao crédito bancário por parte de muitos estudantes que, não podendo agora cumprir com os pagamentos, são forçados a desistir do ensino superior.

Poder-se-ia pensar que esta é uma situação nova, mas um estudo de Belmiro Cabrito, professor no Instituto de Educação da Universidade de Lisboa, intitulado «Equidade no Ensino Superior – 1995-2005: Uma Década Perdida?», veio recentemente demonstrar que, já antes da crise, «o elitismo da universidade portuguesa agravou-se», afastando numa década um terço dos alunos mais pobres (a percentagem passou de 12,5 para 8,5 por cento). O estudo verificou também que «o aumento do número de bolseiros (no privado, sobretudo) não teve efeitos positivos na equidade do ensino universitário», que permanece bastante baixa.

Poderá este ser o caminho de uma modernização assente na formação de competências e na justiça social? Se a prioridade «é desenvolver as políticas sociais, é qualificar os serviços públicos, é reduzir as desigualdades na sociedade portuguesa», então não podemos perder mais décadas.
É absolutamente de LEITURA OBRIGATÓRIA este artigo de opinião de Sandra Monteiro, publicado na edição de Novembro do «Le Monde Diplomatique - edição portuguesa».

sábado, novembro 14, 2009

Marcha pelo Ensino Superior: 17 de Novembro - LX

Estudantes alemães ocupam [várias] Universidades em protesto contra o pagamento de propinas

Estudantes alargaram os protestos contra o pagamento de propinas ocupando instalações de universidades em Berlim e Munique.
Em Munique, centenas de estudantes ocuparam a Aula Magna da Universidade Ludwig Maximilian e resolveram manter-se em debate permanente sobre a reforma do ensino superior naquelas instalações.

Em Berlim, estudantes da Universidade Livre e da Universidade Humboldt ocuparam também salas de aula e fizeram plenários para aprovar moções de protesto. As ocupações deverão manter-se nos próximos dias, disse um porta-voz dos manifestantes.

Em Tuebingen, no sul da Alemanha, a polícia pôs fim à ocupação da Universidade local por cerca de 200 estudantes, que depois de alguma resistência abandonaram pacificamente o campus universitário.

Outras reitorias, como as das universidades de Berlim, por exemplo, preferiram dialogar com os estudantes e negociar um prazo para abandonarem as salas de aulas.

Segundo a comissão coordenadora dos protestos, os estudantes ocuparam instalações universitárias em 20 cidades do país. Tudo começou há alguns dias na Universidade de Viena (Áustria), onde um grupo de estudantes exigiu melhores condições de trabalho e estudo. Entretanto, os protestos alastraram a vários países da Europa, embora as revindicações sejam diferentes.

Os estudantes alemães exigem sobretudo a abolição do pagamento de propinas e criticam a implementação dos chamados cursos de Bolonha, que se destinam a unificar o ensino superior na União Europeia, e a substituir as clássicas licenciaturas de cinco anos por um bacharelato de três anos, seguido ou não por um mestrado de dois anos.

Em declarações à emissora pública SWR, a ministra do Ensino Superior alemã, Annete Schavan, pediu aos governos estaduais, que constitucionalmente têm a tutela do ensino, para acelerarem as reformas do Processo de Bolonha. "A política educativa tem de ser credível e as matérias desnecessárias têm de ser suprimidas dos cursos, para aliviar a carga horária dos estudantes", defendeu a ministra democrata-cristã.

A oposição alemã solidarizou-se com os estudantes e acusou Annete Schavan de culpar os governos estaduais pela má situação no ensino superior.

Alunos da Universidade de Brasília tiram a roupa em apoio à estudante da Universidade Bandeirante

Cerca de 100 alunos da Universidade de Brasília (UnB) ficaram nus ou seminus, nesta quarta-feira [11 de Novembro], durante uma manifestação de apoio a Geisy Arruda, a estudante de Turismo que chegou a ser expulsa da Universidade Bandeirante (UniBan), em São Bernardo do Campo (SP), por assistir [às] aulas usando um vestido curto.
"Pela liberdade de expressão e o fim da opressão machista", diziam alguns cartazes usados no protesto dos estudantes da UnB.

No último dia 22 [de Outubro], Geisy teve que deixar a UniBan de São Bernardo do Campo sob escolta policial depois de ser hostilizada e agredida verbalmente pelos estudantes da instituição simplesmente por usar o vestido curto.

O grupo comparou o caso da UniBan com situações de preconceito e machismo registados na UnB. Um exemplo citado durante a manifestação foram os actos de violência sexual ocorridos na Universidade, como o ataque a uma estudante de 18 anos, em Abril deste ano.

A estudante de Serviço Social e militante do Klaus, grupo da causa GLBT da UnB, Luana Gaudad, 20 anos, afirmou que "Todos os dias as mulheres e outras minorias sofrem agressões na Universidade. São agressões verbais, falta de segurança e assédios por parte de professores e funcionários. Todas as minorias, aqui, estão vulneráveis e expostas".

O protesto foi convocado pelos alunos da Sociologia, e rapidamente se espalhou por email e pelo Orkut. "Acreditamos que o movimento estudantil, assim como o movimento social, não pode aceitar nenhuma forma de agressão, machismo ou preconceito", disse Rodolfo Godoi, estudante de sociologia.

No domingo passado, a UniBan anunciou que tinha decidido expulsar Geisy devido a sua "flagrante falta de respeito aos princípios éticos, à dignidade académica e à moralidade". A onda de protestos gerada pela decisão da Universidade foi tamanha que levou a instituição de ensino a readmitir a estudante dois dias depois de expulsá-la.

terça-feira, novembro 10, 2009

London College of Communication occupied

Courses in Creative Enterprise and the Printing Schools and some staff members have been earmarked for redundancy by Sandra Kemp, the Head of College (appointed in February 2009) in order to align the LCC it with its "core strengths" and make up for a deficit of £1.3 million. A possible restructuring plan was communicated with just two members of the SU: Helen Gimber, SU President and Andrea Strachan, SU General Manager in late June 2009.This restructuring will mean that a number of courses in the Printing and Creative Enterprise schools will be closed. This includes the popular BA Marketing and Advertising and MA Marketing Communications degrees. From the Creative Enterprise school, only courses in PR and Creative Advertising Strategy will survive the restructuring plans. These measures involve not only high staff redundancy numbers, but also the devaluation of the degrees of thousands of current students and alumni.

segunda-feira, novembro 02, 2009

Um caderno de encargos para o Ensino Superior

Foi com espírito de colaboração e de abertura que, ainda antes de se iniciar a actual legislatura, apontei um conjunto de objectivos que poderiam constituir o Programa do Governo na área do Ensino Superior.
Em primeiro lugar, a urgência de ordenar a oferta educativa. Existem cerca de 4000 cursos registados, sendo 1874 de licenciatura ou de mestrado integrado, com mais de 800 designações distintas. Esta diversidade não é uma mais-valia do sistema e dificulta a sua legibilidade.

Defendo que cursos com um conteúdo nuclear semelhante tenham a mesma designação e que cursos com um conteúdo nuclear diferente tenham designações diferentes, o que não acontece actualmente.

Um equilíbrio satisfatório poderia ser que a definição da designação dos cursos de 1º ciclo e de mestrado integrado fosse feita em sede de regulação, ficando os restantes ao critério das instituições.

Um segundo ponto passa pela racionalização da rede pública de instituições.

Quinze universidades, quinze politécnicos e quatro escolas não integradas, sem qualquer política de articulação entre elas ou programa de financiamento que a sustente, fazem do nosso sistema apenas um somatório de partes.

Venho propondo a criação de Regiões Académicas, agrupando ou articulando numa base regional as instituições. Apesar de esta ideia ser autorizada pelo actual RJIES, é necessário que o Governo promova, por sua própria iniciativa, a criação de mecanismos de coordenação.

Uma terceira acção é a de repensar toda a política de financiamento. É necessário fechar o actual ciclo de estrangulamento financeiro das Universidades que, nos últimos cinco exercícios, representou uma redução de 30% do esforço público de financiamento para funcionamento, medido em percentagem do PIB.

É necessário construir um novo modelo de financiamento numa base plurianual, quer em termos de funcionamento, aproximando-nos dos valores médios europeus, quer em termos de investimento, contratualizando Planos de Desenvolvimento em função dos objectivos pedagógicos e científicos.

É necessário ainda que o binómio Acção Social/Propinas seja analisado, tendo como certo que as portas do Ensino Superior actualmente se fecham, por razões económicas, a uma parte da população, que é necessário aumentar a taxa de escolaridade neste nível de ensino e que as propinas são das mais elevadas da Europa.

Em quarto lugar, é necessário clarificar o conceito de autonomia.
Com as recentes reformas da administração pública e o RJIES, temos hoje um quadro de funcionamento, em termos dos constrangimentos burocrático-administrativos, ainda mais limitativo do que há quatro anos. Entreabre-se a possibilidade de aproveitar a via das fundações públicas de direito privado, mas urge que se definam com clareza os mecanismos simplificados que esta via comporta.

O quinto e o sexto pontos apontam, respectivamente, para o retomar do processo de avaliação, corrigindo o erro que constituiu a interrupção do sistema de avaliação antes de pôr a funcionar uma alternativa, e para uma reaproximação entre as Universidades e o sistema científico – sabendo que nenhum país pode ambicionar a um sistema científico de qualidade sem assegurar igualmente o desenvolvimento das suas instituições universitárias.

Fernando Seabra Santos
Reitor da Universidade de Coimbra e presidente do CRUP

sexta-feira, outubro 23, 2009

Propinas afastam um terço dos alunos mais pobres

Cerca de um terço dos alunos de baixo rendimento deixaram a universidade entre 1995 e 2005.
O aumento de propinas levou ao afastamento de alunos de famílias com baixos rendimentos.De 1995 a 2005, período em que foi introduzido o modelo de propinas nas universidades, o ensino superior ficou mais elitista. Foi esta a conclusão apresentada por Belmiro Cabrito na sua intervenção no FES 2009 [O financiamento do Ensino Superior], conferência dedicada ao financiamento superior organizada pela Universidade de Lisboa (UL).

Segundo os números apresentados pelo professor do Instituto de Educação da UL, a percentagem de alunos de rendimento baixo no ensino superior desceu um terço nesses dez anos, especificamente de 12,5% para 8,5%. Quase todos esses alunos foram ‘substituídos' por estudantes que vêem de famílias de rendimento médio, com a percentagem a subir de 69,9% para 73,8%. A percentagem de alunos de rendimento alto e médio alto manteve-se essencialmente igual, passando de 17,6% para 17,7%.

Belmiro Cabrito comparou estes números com os dados da população geral do censo de 2001, que dividiam o país em 9,9% de rendimento alto e médio alto, 52,1% de rendimento médio e 38% de rendimento baixo. "O grau de equidade da universidade portuguesa, é bastante baixo, remetendo para uma universidade ainda de elites. Em termos evolutivos, o elitismo da universidade portuguesa agravou-se", conclui o economista. "Esta tendência é notória e deve-se provavelmente à nova política de propinas. Em 1995 a média de pagamento de propinas era de 300 euros. Em 2005 passou a ser de 900 euros".

A primeira intervenção do dia coube a Luísa Cerdeira, que apresentou algumas das conclusões retiradas de um inquérito realizado em 2005 a uma amostra de alunos universitários. No que respeita às propinas, os estudantes responderam que, se estas aumentassem menos de 50%, os alunos tenderiam a ir trabalhar para pagar os estudos. Se o aumento fosse para mais de 50%, a tendência é para abandonar os estudos, sendo que essa tendência é maior ainda no ensino privado.

"Os alunos consideram que o ensino superior é um bem público que deve ser suportado pelo Estado e não concordam que as propinas sejam um factor de melhoria da qualidade do ensino", lembra a administradora da UL. A maioria também discorda da criação de um valor da propina ajustado em função do rendimento esperado após a obtenção da formação superior.

O papel do Estado
Outro dos valores comparados na sessão remeteu para a comparticipação do Estado no financiamento do ensino superior, mantendo-se a tendência que aponta para valores de 44% para o Estado e 56% para os estudantes. "Não houve mudanças significativas no sentido de uma maior participação do Estado na prestação de um serviço público. Estes valores tornam-se ainda mais significativos se compararmos o dinheiro que cada um destes grupos tem à partida", comentou Belmiro Cabrito.
Nicholas Barr, professor inglês que esteve presente no primeiro dia da conferência e é conhecido como um dos maiores defensores do sistema de propinas, utilizou a sessão de debate para defender esse modelo. "É importante fazermos uma distinção. Uma questão é dizermos que o ensino superior deve ser acessível aos mais desfavorecidos, o que deve acontecer. Outra bem diferente é dizer que o Estado o devia disponibilizar de graça", defendeu o professor dando o exemplo de um bem essencial como o da comida. "Querer facilitar a compra de comida para famílias mais pobres não quer dizer que ela deva ser disponibilizada de graça para todos".

Em resposta a esta teoria, Belmiro Cabrito lembrou que, embora a compreenda, "num país com 38% dos seus cidadãos com rendimento baixo, recuso-me a acreditar que só 8,5% não sejam ‘atrasados' em relação ao resto da população".

quarta-feira, outubro 21, 2009

Academy of Fine Arts Vienna squatted!

sign the petition

sexta-feira, outubro 16, 2009

La ricerca è in bilico, non tagliate la corda: azione dei ricercatori precari alla Sapienza

Precari e studenti della Sapienza manifestano contro il governo mentre Napolitano e Frati premiano le migliori ricerche. Come sul Titanic. Il presidente della repubblica Napolitano visita la Sapienza per premiare i ricercatori meritevoli, gli studenti, i dottorandi e i ricercatori precari protestano: in due si calano dai tetti della facoltà di Lettere reggendo uno striscione che recita "La ricerca è in bilico, non tagliate la corda". L'azione di oggi si inserisce nella campagna "La Gelmini non ci merita" e rilancia le mobilitazioni di questo autunno contro i tagli e la riforma annunicata dal governo per fine Ottobre.

Gli studenti e i precari dell'università "La Sapienza" di Roma hanno manifestato durante il convegno in cui il presidente Giorgio Napolitano e il rettore Luigi Frati hanno premiato le migliori ricerche dell'ateneo. Letteralmente appesi a venti metri d'altezza, un ricercatore precario e una studentessa hanno aperto uno striscione con il messaggio "La ricerca è appesa a un filo, non tagliate la corda" davanti al Rettorato. La protesta è continuata anche durante la premiazione in Aula Magna: sono stati esposti cartelli che richiamavano all'attenzione del presidente della Repubblica i provvedimenti del ministro Gelmini sull'Università e sulla ricerca.