Report: Balkan Regional Meeting in Skopje April 16-18th

Last weekend, the city of Skopje (Rep. of Macedonia) hosted the 1st Balkan Regional Meeting which was attended by students from different universities across the Balkans. Responding to the call of “Sloboden Indeks” (hosts of this meeting) activists from different groups including “Sindikat Obrazovanja ASI” (Belgrade), “Studentski Glas” (Sofia), “n’Solidaritet” (Prishtina) and “Nezavisna Studentska Iniciativa” (Belgrade) have come together to discuss the problems which their struggle faces in their native countries.

Higher education, one of the greatest victims in the process of aggressive implementation of neo-liberal trends in the Balkan region, has collapsed due to reforms where “knowledge and education is distributed as any other product”.

The International Student Movement – Balkan Meeting was a meeting between Balkan student movements that fight for free and emancipatory education which is being endangered by the Bologna Process, diminishing autonomy of the university to state and economic powers and high fees among other things. This meeting was the first serious attempt towards a stronger coordination between the groups, which means coordination in actions, the sharing of information and most importantly working under the same ideology in full solidarity with one another. “The important goal of the meeting was to create a unified platform which all the individuals and groups who identify with, can join in the struggle”.

“Balkan Student” (network’s official name from now on) sees today’s universities as mere “factories” producing a cheap technical labor force with no knowledge and critical thinking whatsoever. The future actions will fight these occurrences and will propagate the idea of the publicly funded and autonomous free university that is free from any political and economical influences, with the students and professors organized on the principles of direct democracy.

The first Balkan Student meeting was held from 16th to 18th of April 2011 and it was supposed to end with a public discussion on the subject of “student self-organizing” at the University “Sv. Kiril i Metodij” in Skopje. The student network has announced its next meeting in Belgrade at the beginning of the next academic year and actions that are soon to follow.

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