quarta-feira, 18 de novembro de 2009
Ich bin ein Vienner
Similar protests began last week at Vienna’s Academy of Fine Arts after students and teachers rejected changes under a Europe-wide reform of higher education called the Bologna Process. The reforms are aimed at making it easier for students to study abroad and making university degrees equally recognizable in participating countries.
But the University of Vienna protesters say the reforms take away their flexibility to personally structure their degree programs. They also reject discussions of the reintroduction of tuition for Austrians and EU citizens, and want fees for foreigners and longtime students to be scrapped. The protesters also want entrance exams to be abolished, saying education should be open to everyone.
"The result is intercontinental as well as inter-EU competition, within which single universities and their departments compete amongst themselves for the best results and statistics. The processes involved in the creation of an education economy with knowledge as the traded commodity correspond with the general ambitions of privatization and commodification in all spheres of life under neoliberal capitalism. They lead to educational institution’s increased dependency on their sponsors; cynically defined as the autonomization of the universities."
In the composition of the Bologna 3-level study model, a paradigm change has manifested itself, in the last few years there has been a shift from a pluralistic education ideal to an economy orientated education. The Academy of Fine Arts Vienna has repeatedly and explicitly positioned itself against this degradation and the establishment of the Bachelor-Master system.
We declare solidarity with the education protests in Bangladesh, Brazil, Germany, Finland, France, Greece, Great Britain, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Croatia, Netherlands, Serbia, South Africa, USA.
What started as a spontanious act of protest, within the course of just a week, evolved into massive student protests throughout all major Austrian university cities. The University of Vienna, for example, has been constantly occupied by several thousand people. Self-organised action groups have built an efficient infrastructure that includes a public kitchen, first aid and legal consulting. In addition to that 100 work groups have been formed, whose main subject is the discussion of strategy and demands.
The students have presented a broad catalogue of demands to government and university policy makers. Demands include the democratisation of all aspects of university life, a massive increase in funding, free and equal admission for all with the necessary qualifications and the implementation of accessible/barrier-free studying for those with special needs. The students are also calling for a ``50% women’’ clause for all positions in university administration and the education system.
Leading figures from politics, culture and society at large consider the protest movement as a seismograph for problems that reach far beyond the education system. So far, more than 350 university lecturers and researchers have declared solidarity with the occupying students and many actively participate in the protests. The highly precarious working conditions that university staff increasingly face, including short-term contracts and little job security, has a detrimental effect on the quality of research and teaching.
After the widening of the protests and the numerous declarations of solidarity from all over the world, the Austrian government finally reacted. The minister of science and research Johannes Hahn promised 34 million euro from the ministry’s reserve budget. The protesters believe this gesture is not in the least adequate to effectively solve the range of structural problems.