sexta-feira, fevereiro 25, 2011

North Rhine-Westphalia (DE): Tuition Fees Abolished!!

In the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia (Germany) tuition fees were abolished again today, after being introduced in 2006!

That reduces the number of federal states with tuition fees in Germany to eight (out of 16 in total), out of which general tuition fees are still charged in four states and tuition fees for students who study longer than expected in all eight.

In 2005 the federal constitutional court rules that the introduction of tuition fees is legal. In 2006 many states across the country began to use that verdict and made students pay (usually around €500 per semester + administration charges of between €50 and €250). Massive protests took place against the fees since 2006. Railway, city-centers and highways were blocked, ministries, classrooms and lecture halls occupied.Thousands were attacked and detained within 12 month in 2006/07 alone.

Together with North Rhine-Westphalia general tuition fees were abolished again in four federal states (Bremen, Saarland, North Rhine-Westphalia and Hesse).

Of course this doesn't fundamentally change the education system. But at least it gets us closer to one of the three main pillars of the International Joint Statement: Access to education for all!

Here is an overview of protests during the summer 2009 in Germany.

quarta-feira, fevereiro 23, 2011

Aber is occupied again!

After a very successful rally and march at the university Aber Students Against Cuts have occupied A12 lecture theatre (Hugh Owen).

The march saw approximately seven hundred students, lecturers and people of Aberystwyth marching from campus to the Old College, where we occupied the building to make our voices heard to the senior management.

We are committed to not disturbing lectures or the open day that is happening tomorrow, and look forward to the contributions from students and lecturers to the debate on education.

We want to remind senior management of the commitment they have to education and to us.

A full statement of our demands and reasons for occupation will follow tomorrow - right now it's nearing midnight and we've had a full day. We're settling down to do some work and watch films.

Come down and visit us, even if you just fancy a cup of coffee!

segunda-feira, fevereiro 21, 2011

Para uma Nova Europa: a Universidade luta contra a Austeridade (declaração comum do Encontro)

Nós, os estudantes e trabalhadores precários da Europa, Tunísia, Japão, Estados Unidos, Canadá, México, Chile, Peru e Argentina, reunimo-nos em Paris no fim-de-semana de 11 a 13 de Fevereiro de 2011 para discutir e organizar uma rede comum baseada nas nossas lutas comuns. Estudantes do Maghreb e da Gâmbia tentaram comparecer mas a França recusou-lhes a entrada. Reivindicamos a livre circulação de pessoas tal como a livre circulação das lutas.

De facto, nos últimos anos o nosso movimento assumiu a Europa como o espaço de conflitos contra a corporização da universidade e precariedade. Este encontro em Paris e os movimentos revolucionários ao longo do Mediterrâneo permitem-nos tomar um importante passo tanto em direcção a uma nova Europa contra a austeridade como às revoltas no Maghreb.

Somos uma geração que vive a precariedade como uma condição permanente: a universidade já não é um elevador de mobilidade social ascendente mas sim uma fábrica de precariedade. Nem a universidade é uma comunidade fechada: as nossas lutas pelo bem-estar, trabalho e a livre circulação de conhecimento e pessoas não param à sua porta.

A nossa necessidade por uma rede comum é baseada nas nossas lutas contra o Processo de Bolonha e contra os cortes na educação que a Europa está a usar como resposta à crise.

Sendo que o Estado e os interesses privados colaboram no processo de corporização da universidade, as nossas lutas não têm o objectivo de defender o status quo. Os Governos pagam a fiança dos bancos e cortam na educação. Queremos fazer a nossa própria universidade – a universidade que vive nas nossas experiências de educação autónoma, pesquisa alternativa e escolas livres. É uma universidade gratuita, conduzida por estudantes, trabalhadores precários e migrantes, a universidade sem fronteiras.

Este fim-de-semana partilhámos e discutimos diferentes linguagens e práticas comuns de conflito: manifestações, ocupações e greves metropolitanas. Criámos e melhorámos as nossas reivindicações comuns: acesso gratuito à universidade contra os aumentos de propinas e custos de educação, nova acção social e direitos comuns contra a dívida e a financeirização das nossas vidas, e por uma educação baseada na cooperação contra a competição e hierarquias.

Com base nesta declaração comum:
  • Apelamos a dias de acção comum e transnacional nos dias 24, 25 e 26 de Março de 2011: contra os bancos, sistema de dívida e medidas de austeridade, para a educação gratuita e a livre circulação de pessoas e conhecimento;
  • Criaremos um diário comum de lutas e um meio autónomo de comunicação;
  • Promoveremos uma grande caravana e encontro na Tunísia porque as lutas do Maghreb são as lutas que estamos a lutar aqui;
  • Encontrar-nos-emos novamente em Londres em Junho;
  • Faremos parte da contra-cimeira dos G8 em Dijon em Maio.
A lutar e a cooperar, este é o nosso Comunal de Paris!

quinta-feira, fevereiro 10, 2011

Occupation of University building in Utrecht: out of protest to education cuts in the Netherlands

In the morning of February 9th students occupied a building of the Utrecht University in the Netherlands out of protest to cuts proposed by the new right-wing government. The government is implementing austerity measures across society, using the financial crisis a pretext to hollow out social spending. Like in other countries around Europe and the world, education is no exception to this rule.

The proposed cuts to education include:
  • a 3.000 Euro fine and no right to free public transport for students who have more than one year delay in their Bachelor or Masters programme, regardless of the reason;
  • no more study-financing for Masters students;
  • cuts to higher education institutions resulting in the estimated loss of 4.000 jobs.
The occupiers want to send a clear message to the government and to society in general, “Education is a right not a privilege”, and we will not stand by while our right to education is being hollowed out. We also stand in solidarity with our fellow students and knowledge workers in other countries who are struggling for similar goals.

We're sending delegates to the Paris meeting, so see you there.

Student Action Comittee Utrecht

quinta-feira, fevereiro 03, 2011

University funds slashed by almost £1bn

Universities express alarm as budgets for teaching and research are cut back.
England's universities were told today they will have their budgets slashed by nearly £1bn over the next academic year.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce), which funds universities on behalf of the government, said £940m would be stripped from universities' budgets for teaching, research, buildings and other areas, a 9.5% cut.

Universities said they were alarmed and feared they would be in for "a rough ride".

In a letter to vice-chancellors, the funding council said budgets would be cut to £6.5bn for the next academic year (2011-12). Hefce said it recognised finances were tight and that the settlement was challenging.

The teaching budget will be reduced by £180m to £4.3bn – a 4% cut in cash terms.

The research grant will be cut by £17.4m to £1.6bn – a 1.1% reduction. Future grants will be concentrated on departments with higher quality ratings for their work – mainly the bigger, more prestigious universities, the funding council said.

Funding for raising the proportion of students from the poorest homes at university will be frozen at £144m. There will be no increase in funds to help keep students on courses if they are at risk of dropping out.

Grants for capital projects, such as new buildings, have been cut by 58% in cash terms to £223m. Last academic year, universities received £532m for building works.

Universities were also told that they will have an in-year (2010-11) cut for the first time: they will now receive £190m less than they had planned for this academic year.

A one-off fund to create 20,000 extra university places is being stopped – a reduction of a further £255m.

The cuts come as universities face unprecedented demand for places. Last month, the universities and colleges admission service (Ucas) said nearly 600,000 university hopefuls – an all-time record – had applied for a place on a degree course beginning in 2011. Applications have risen by 5.1% compared with this time last year, and 583,501 candidates are chasing a place this autumn. Ucas said this was the highest number since it started collecting data in 1964.

Ministers have said that the government will continue to fund an extra 10,000 places in 2011, as they did last year, but this will be withdrawn by 2012.

Universities will continue to face fines if they exceed the cap on places in 2011-12, creating an incentive for universities to keep tight control of their numbers. The fine will be £3,750 for each student from the UK or the European Union recruited above their permitted limit.

Click here to read the full article...Sir Alan Langlands, Hefce's chief executive, said the funding council was trying to help universities make a "smooth transition" before they could charge higher fees in 2012. Universities will be able to charge up to £9,000 a year – almost triple the current level. Many institutions had anticipated the challenges ahead before they could increase their fees and "many have already taken difficult decisions to reduce their costs", he said.

He recognised the financial settlement was challenging and wanted to "minimise uncertainty in a difficult transitional year".

David Willetts, the universities minister, said he had asked for the teaching budget to be protected as far as possible.

"Higher education, like other areas of public spending, has had to take its share of savings," he said.

In December, MPs voted to raise fees from £3,375 this autumn to a maximum of £9,000 a year. Willetts said he expected this to bring an increase in income of 10% by 2014-15.

"It is essential that universities move quickly to prepare for the different environment in which they will operate in future years, striving to meet the aspirations of students for high quality teaching. As well as benefiting from investment in student support, the higher education sector will continue to benefit from sustained ring-fenced investment in science and research," he said.

Paul Marshall, director of the 1994 Group which represents small, research-intensive universities, said the cuts would mean "a rough ride for the UK economy".

"In his spending review statement last year, the chancellor referred to universities as the jewel in the UK's economic crown, but the sweeping funding cuts confirmed in today's letter show that universities will need to work harder than ever to make their contribution."

Gareth Thomas, Labour's shadow universities minister said: "This year is the first of a hugely difficult three years for universities as 80% of the university teaching funds are axed [over that period], with some universities set to lose all their public funding.

"The decision to cut so much from university teaching budgets, the massive cut to capital funding and then to load the cost on to the next generation of students by trebling tuition fees is unfair, unnecessary and unsustainable."

Universities are expected to receive their individual budgets next month.