As school students, our future is
increasingly placed at risk by economic crisis. Education cannot be where our
government goes to for cutting corners; it must be a priority especially during
was with this in mind that on Wednesday 25th February, a modest yet
energetic group from London School Students’ Union joined the national
demonstration against tuition fees in marching through London to protest
against the government’s plans to lift the cap on tuition fees (currently £3200
a year, and £3200 too much already), and to demand free education! The
demonstration was supported by over 20 student unions, a variety of left and
activist groups and the NUS Women’s, LGBT and Black students’ campaigns. The
protest started at SOAS (School
of Oriental and African
Studies) with a rally. Speakers included Baljeet Ghale, ex-president of the
NUT, speaking against academy schools. The protest, of about 1000 people,
linked the issue of tuition fees to the current economic crisis and chants
angrily condemned the bailouts and called for workers and students to unite.
that this was the first student protest since 1999 without NUS support, it
seems like a promising start to what could be a powerful campaign against fees,
building on the successes of the recent wave of university occupations
throughout the country.
our meeting the same evening, Manuel Reichesteder spoke on the rise of student
protest movements throughout Europe over the
past few months. Many countries have a great tradition of youth militancy with France, Spain,
Lithuania, Norway and
others having established school students’ unions, but recently we have seen
these movements become far more widespread and organised. Many of these
protests are in response to the ‘Bolognia Process’ being reeled out across
Europe, whereby privatisation and cuts are being pushed through by many
governments under the banner of standardising education across Europe.
last November 100, 000 school and university students walked out across Germany to
demonstrate against the marketisation and worsening of their education system –
often joined by parents and teachers. Out of the strikes earlier last year, in
May and June, a nationwide students’ action alliance was formed and student
committees in many cities, with the support of trade unions, some political
parties and NGOs.
there have been widespread university occupations to counter the cuts in
education, in many cases supported by lecturers and local unions. School
students too held mass demonstrations, with some even occupying their schools
and holding outdoor meetings to plan further actions. The student movement in Italy
calls itself ‘The Wave’ and is supported by many layers of society.
students blockaded schools in response to Sarkozy’s reform plans full of cuts
and school closures – and the government was forced to withdraw their plans due
to the huge public attention that the protests achieved. School students in France also joined on the general strike in
January, and have been protesting against the government’s shameful plans to
cut funding from France’s
prestigious teacher training course.
where young people are facing similar problems, the school students’ union
Sindicato de Esdtudientes organised mass walkouts last October. 96% of school
students and 70% of university students took park in these protests.
across Europe are demanding lowering class
sizes, free education for all, no to private sponsoring and no to
privatisation. We stand with them in
these important struggles.
Manuel’s leadoff we discussed how these movements have developed and organised,
as well as the potential we have already seen in Britain with the university
occupations for similar movements to grow. We talked about the mass school
walkouts in 2003 against the war in Iraq, as well as about how LSSU
should engage in political issues so as to strike a chord with school students
across the country.
expects to see a dramatic rise in politicised youth in Britain, and
are forming a union capable of expressing this movement and its fundamental
aims for the right to education, democracy in schools and no market influence
or privatisation in education.