Statement of solidarity with UK and Italian students

Last week Croatian students expressed their solidarity with Italian and British students, placing banners on prominent public and academic sites to alert the public of the continuing student struggle against the growing commercialization and privatization of education, reduction of university autonomy and monstrous tuition fees. The banners were placed by the independent student initiatives from Osijek, Pula and Zadar as well as plenums of the Faculties of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb and Rijeka.

In England, the commercialization is now most readily visible in the incredible and socially insensitive fee hikes which will deny access to higher education even to middle class families, who will have to accept slavery to debt in order to educate their children. This means that higher education will be denied to most of the population.

In Italy, the reforms are curbing university autonomy, abolishing grants for students from poorer backgrounds and closing numerous “unprofitable” departments – and these are just some of the facets of commercialization taking place all over the world.

Croatia is among countries whose politics are blindly following the practices of more “advanced” Western societies. The laws that have been in the “public discussion” for over a year promise to introduce the very scenarios the students are protesting against in Europe and beyond. Among other innovations, these laws are about to place politicians into university administrations in order to ease their privatization. Education thus becomes another “ballast” to get rid of, just like healthcare and social care. A society which values life in terms of profit is a perverse society, and it needs to be changed now.

Thus, this was not just an expression of solidarity, but also a call to all of us to consider the gravity of the situation and fight with all means available.

One world, one struggle! Education is not for sale!

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