Students United, the International Student Movement

international student movement

International Joint Statement | International Student Movement

International Joint Statement

Around the world over the past decade students, pupils, teachers, parents and employees have been protesting against the increasing commercialization and privatization of public education, and fighting for free and emancipatory education.

Many of us use the International Student Movement as a self-managed platform initiated to exchange information, to network and to co-ordinate protests at both the international and the global levels. Since the ISM platform was initiated in November 2008 various global days and weeks of action were coordinated.
We strive for structures based on direct participation and non-hierarchical organization through collective discussion and action. Anyone who identifies with the struggle against the privatization of public education, and for free and emancipatory education can join and participate on as well as shape the platform!

The following aims unite us worldwide:

What are we struggling against?

  • The effects of the current economic system on people and education systems:
    → tuition fees or any form of fees which exclude people from accessing and equally participating in education
    → student debt
    → public education aligned to serve the (labour) market;

    The so called Bologna-Process (as with its counterparts around the world) is aimed at implementing education systems that primarily train people in skills serving the labour market. It promotes the reduction of costs for training a person, shortens the length of time spent studying, and produces underqualified workforces.

    → turning education into a commodity as part of the commodification of all aspects of life
    → the significant and increasing influence of business interests on basic budgets for public education
    → the significant and increasing budget cuts on public education worldwide
    → the privatisation of public funds through the subsidisation of private educational institutions
    → the commodification and exploitation of labor within educational institutions

  • We stand against discrimination and exclusion within any educational institution based on:
    → socio-economic background, for instance by charging fees so that people with less money can’t participate equally
    → nationality
    → performance and academic record
    → political ideologies and activities
    → gender
    → sexual orientation
    → religion
    → ethnic background
    → skin colour
  • We stand against the prioritisation of research towards commercially valuable patents rather than open knowledge freely available to all
    → Public educational institutions are increasingly forced to compete for private sponsorships to do (basic) research; at the same time private funds tend to be invested into research promising to be profitable, leading to a decline in funding for areas of research which may be important but not deemed economically lucrative. Educational institutions and participants are evaluated on the basis of economic profitability and often compete to receive additional public funding based on this criteria.
  • We stand against the prioritisation of income-generating research grants ahead of education and basic research
  • Activities for the army within educational institutions:
    → no research specifically for military purposes
    → no recruiting and advertising activities for the army

What are we struggling for?

  • CONTENT:
    → free and emancipatory education as a human right. Education should primarily work for the emancipation of the individual, which means: being enabled to critically reflect and understand the power structures and environment surrounding him-/herself. Education must not only enable the emancipation of the individual but society as a whole
    → education as a public good serving public interests
    → academic freedom and choice: freedom to pursue any educational discipline
  • ACCESS:
    → free from monetary mechanisms of payment by participants and any kind of discrimination and exclusion and therefore freely accessible to all individuals
    → sufficient funding for all public educational institutions, whether they are deemed profitable or not
  • STRUCTURE:
    → all educational entities/institutions should be democratically structured, meaning direct participation from below as a basis for decision making processes

Why on the local and global level?

The impacts of the current global economic system create struggles worldwide. While applying local pressure to influence our individual local/regional politics and legislation, we must always be aware of the global and structural nature of our problems and learn from each other’s tactics, experiences in organizing, and theoretical knowledge. Short-term changes may be achieved on the local level, but great change will only happen if we unite globally.

Education systems worldwide do what they are intended to do within the economic and state system(s): select for, train and create ignorance and submission. We unite for a different education system and a different life.

We stand united against any sort of repression by governments worldwide directed at people involved in the struggle for free and emancipatory education.

The following groups and individuals support this statement, pledge to spread it, and to get actively involved in efforts to network and unite education activist groups worldwide in the future.

Wish to support this statement by having your (group) name listed below? Just send an e-mail to: united.for.education@gmail.com

~ one world – one struggle ~

International Joint Statement | International Student Movement

Students around the world have many common interests. In many nations, austerity policies are damaging the social fabric including education. That kind of investment in a nation’s future is the last place one should look for broad cuts.

I have watched in horror as our college students are priced out of many educational options, saddled with enormous debts when they do go to college and in a poorly regulated market are often overcharged for degrees with little use.

I believe that education is the bedrock value for a civilized society with a view toward future generations. We must look to our children’s future.

Financing education on the backs of our students is an American innovation. We transfer what used to be a common burden, a common investment, into personal debt. It is a national tragedy.

But also we see a constant drumbeat for an education suited only for the job market. That is only one element of the educational process. We who teach are also in the business of creating critical thinkers, good citizens and human beings who can live full lives with an appreciation of art, culture and history.

In 1841, European student went to the barricades and fought for a more just society. Ever since students have been in the forefront of challenging society to live up to its highest values.

I believe in the future. I believe in it not because of the continuing horror of American politics but because I teach students that I believe in, that I have faith in, and that I am willing to trust the future of this nation with.

James Alan Pilant

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