International Education Protests in September 2011

The following is an overview of protests linked to our struggle against the increasing commercialisation of education and for free emancipatory education around the world during September 2011. It supports the thesis that this is a struggle against symptoms of the currently dominating economic system, an economic system which unleashes its forces on the global level. Therefore the need to connect around the world to counter these developments and fight for a different education together is self-evident. Groups and activists worldwide are currently getting ready for the “Global Weeks of Action for Education” (November 07-20th 2011) with the “international joint statement” as the basis. Consider to get involved in the coordinations on the International Student Movement platform and to endorse the joint statement as an assembly, group or individual.

★ one world – one struggle ★

September 30th

Police arrested 17 students Jagannath University from a rally in Dhaka (Bangladesh) protesting against a government provision that the university funds itself. Students are determined to continue the strike, also after the university is re-opened on Oct. 8th. Among others the protest is directed against Article 27 (4) of the Jagannath University Act- 2005, according to which the university has to fund its operations on its own from next year onwards.
Students say the university increased their semester fees from Tk 3,500 to Tk 20,000 to raise revenue.


more background information with pictures and videos:, (news source)

September 29th

In the struggle for free education up to 100,000 students took to the streets again in Santiago (Chile). Many clashed with riot police.

A demonstration of thousands of students in Thessaloniki (Greece) was brutally attacked by the riot police. Several people were wounded among them an old lady that had to be transferred to the hospital. Students remained in the city centre and were joined by an afternoon demo of workers.

pictures: + +

In opposition to the imposition of £27000 fees for non Scottish UK students (RUK) activists began to squat the management suite at Strathclyde University in Glasgow (Scotland, UK). A student involved in the ongoing occupation was manhandled by a security guard.
The university management denies freedom of access and restricts movement within the building. They also closed down student services in a different building (the McCance building) in an act of collective punishment against the entire student body – this prevents registration, access to student finances etc.
Strathclyde university announced at the end of last term to run down departments of community education, Geography, Sociology and close down the music department.

source: (II)

September 28th

The struggle against state abandonment of public education continues in Dhaka (Bangladesh). Thousands of students took to the streets again. At some locations near campus tyres were set ablaze. No reports of injured or arrested protesters. In reaction to the strike announced by students authorities closed Jagannath University at least until October 6th.


more details on:

Students began to boycott classes indefinately at Lalmonirhat Government Training School and College (Bangladesh) in the struggle for more teachers.


While university students are fighting in departmental General Assemblies to continue with their occupations against the new education Law (faced with the prospect of cancellation of their annual examinations if they do so), high school students are now forcefully entering the emerging wave of action against austerity in Greece. More than 400 high schools are currently under occupation (some reports are taking the number up to 500; it is difficult to verify, as it’s changing by the hour) out of a national total of approximately 1,000.


September 27th

More than 500 students marched to the office of the vice chancellor at Jagannath University (Bangladesh) and a boycott of classes and exams was announced. A large number of police forces was deployed around the campus. (for more background information see Sept. 25)

More details, pictures and videos:

September 26th

Hundreds of students rallied at Auckland University (New Zealand), blocked junctions in the city centre and occupied the Business School to protest the increasing commercialisation and corporatisation of education. At one stage police broke up the protest and detained activists.

The following day in the early morning thousands of activists blocked main gates of Jagannath University (Bangladesh) and boycotted classes. Once again dozens of vehicles were damaged by the angry students and roads blocked – about 25 people were detained.

More details, pictures and videos:

September 25th

The government of Bangladesh introduced a new funding rule (clause 27(4)) that the “public” Jagannath University (JnU) should generate its own funds to run its activities – without being supported by the state anymore. Consequently the university is forced to look for funds elsewhere. Usually there are two potential sources: fees and private investors. Following this step by the state it is feared that semester fees are to be increased by 600% (previously: 3,500 BDT = 34€ = 47US$ – NOW: 20,000 BDT = 195€ = 266US$).
At this stage only Jagannath University is affected. All financial support for JnU by the government should cease for by 2012. If this transformation succeeds, then two other universities are to follow by 2017.
As a direct reaction thousands of students began to block roads around campus and the High Court, demanding that this new rule was scrapped again. Police was called in and began to charge protesters with batons to disperse the crowd. Demands of the students also included the recovery of university dormitories, the setting up of a library, and the increasing of transport facilities as well as the removal of a Bangladesh Bank branch office which is inside their campus.


More details, pictures and videos:

In Athens students entered the studios of the state TV channel in Greece during the evening news asking to make an address through the news bulletin and inform viewers about the reasons they are against the new law on education, which among other issues “sells” universities to the private sector, sets tuition fees, and abolishes academic asylum. The news bulletin was cut on air “due to technical failure”.
Hundreds of people and police forces gathered outside the studios building until late at night.

September 23rd

The second day of protests against the commercialisation of education and the “European Education Ministers forum” in Kiev (Ukraine) looked similar to the developments the previous day. About 100 activists rallied and were attacked by the police. (see Sept. 22nd for more background information)

more background information:

Today marked the peak of the strike at public colleges and universities across the Philippines. Across the country about 20,000 students, teachers and staff took to the streets. Protesters condemned budget cuts on education and other public services as well as increasing fees and the commercialisation of education in general.



more details: (video)

Students from across Scotland occupied the Royal Conservatoire in Glasgow to resist the introduction of £36,000 in tuition fees for UK students from outside Scotland. On September 16th activists already occupied parts of Edinburgh University for the same cause (see below).

more details:,

September 22nd

Also in Colombia students and teachers are resisting new education laws that push for the increasing commercialisation of education. The laws aim to open up universities further for private investments. Today protesting students were attacked by riot police near the Universidad Distrital de Bogotá campus. Eight students were arrested and twenty injured.

As the struggle for free education continues around 180,000 people protested in the streets of Santiago (Chile). Protesters were attacked by riot police when they wanted to head towards the city centre. The massive protests for free education have been going on in Chile for four months now.

Activists squatted Tolman Hall at the University of California in Berkeley (U.S. of A.) for one day:

“We’ve come together today to call for a halt to the destruction of our public schools, and to insist that education be universally accessible and free. But today we are not simply pressing demands; we’re also working collectively to reclaim our campus, to make it a little more public and a little less estranged from us.”

At night the space was violently evicted again – two students were arrested and one badly beaten by police.


more details: (Solidarity Callout),,

Education ministers from across Europe met in the capital Kiev for a so called “Forum of European Education ministers” hosted by the Ukrainian government. Since people in the Ukraine struggle against the increasing commercialisation of education just like everyone else around the world, some students decided that this meeting can’t just pass quietly.
More than 100 students gathered to voice out their opposition to the dominant education policies in the Ukraine and acorss Europe. The protesters were faced with a massive police presence, even riot police was used to keep the students from voicing their opposition.
A counter summit – organised by Direct Action – was prohibited and four activists were temporarily detained as students marched through the city.

more details:

Around 8,000 of students, teachers and public sector workers took to the streets of Athens (Greece) to protest against recent education reforms. Greece’s Education Secretary Anna Diamantopoulou has warned that students risk not being accredited with the autumn semester if they continue to be involved in escalating protests over higher education reforms, including the occupation of more than 350 faculties.
More details on those reforms are available below.

more details:

September 21st

Today a strike at public colleges and universities across the Philippines kicked off. It is directed against budget cuts in education and other public services, increasing tuition fees and the increasing commercialisation of educaton in general.
On this first day of the strike, some 8,000 students, faculty and employees in the Polytechnic University of the Philippines-Sta.Mesa joined a unity march against the education cutback, as youth in other schools staged their own activities for this “strike week”.

news report incl. video:,

September 20th

Tens of thousands of striking teachers, students and parents marched through the streets of Madrid (Spain) to protest cuts in public education.

To inform people about the upcoming strike at colleges and universities across the country student activists at the University of the Philippines Diliman rallied on campus and staged a few freeze mobs.

Hundreds of pupils rallied against budget cuts in Athens (Greece):

September 16th

Student activists began to occupy the George Square Lecture Theatre of Edinburgh University (Scotland, UK) over the £36,000 in tuition fees for UK students from outside Scotland are to be charged.

The following list of demands was just announced:

  1. Freedom of access
  2. No repercussions
  3. Withdrawal of the proposed 36k fees at Edinburgh University
  4. Withdrawal of all fee rises at other Scottish Universities
  5. Free education for all. Holyrood to oppose policies challenging that principle.
  6. Explicit rejection of privatisation of Scottish universities
  7. No course closures or compulsory redundancies
  8. Full and open consultation concerning fees
  9. A living wage for all university employees
  10. University senior management must take the average salary of university staff, or resign.

more details: (report incl. video), (pictures)

September 15th

Students of the public Rajshahi University of Engineering and Technology (Bangladesh) gathered for a rally on campus demanding the cancellation of the decision to increase fees for admission to university as well as for dormitories.


Thousands of students protested in Athens (Greece) against the new laws passed in parliament at the end of last month, which will push for an increase in the commercialisation of education – among others.


more pictures:

Not a protest, but the direct result of many years of protests: Tuition fees were abolished again in the federal state Hamburg (Germany). Each federal state – there are 16 in total – is in charge for its own education policies. After years of protests and resistance there are only two federal states left charging general tution fees within public insitutions of higher education: Bavaria and Lower-Saxony.
Nontheless people also still struggle against other symptoms of the increasing commercialisation of education, such as the increasing de-democratisation, other selection mechanisms and the increasing influence of economic interests on teaching and research, pose great problems.

News report (in German):

September 14th

The struggle against fees and cuts as well as for democratic structures also takes places at the University of Auckland (New Zealand). Activists occupied parts of the university to establish an open space.

Students at Dhaka University (Bangladesh) rallied on campus to protest a newly introduced fine for students who don’t attend class often enough. This rule was introduced by the academic council without student consultation.

Activists demand to have a say in the university policies. Furthermore they attack the university authorities…

“… for fining the students for not attending classes and said since the absentee students were to lose marks there was no need to impose fines on them in this regard. The DU authorities were running the public university with a profit motive, they complained.”

News report:

At least ten students of Rajshahi University (RU) were injured as Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) men allegedly attacked students staging a sit-in on campus protesting recent price hike of first year application forms. Witnesses said some 200 hundred students under the banner “Students against increased fees” were staging the sit-in in front of the university administrative building when some unidentified people began vandalising a university bus there.
Leaders of left-leaning political parties in RU alleged that the university authority instigated the BCL activists to stop the protest programme. RU Assistant Proctor Mustak Ahmed said they would take steps against those involved in vandalising the bus. However, he avoided answering questions regarding the attack on the students.
The protesting students urged admission seekers not to buy admission forms at the increased rate.


Hundreds protested at the Dail (Ireland) against cuts to education resources to special needs children when it re-opened.

In the fight against cuts and for democratic structures within schools pupils in Bremen (Germany) began to squat a 4th school within just a few days.

Report (in German):

Hundreds of American University in Cairo (Egypt) students have entered their 4th day of protests demanding lower fees and higher wages for on-campus workers and security personnel, who joined their protests. Many of the campus walls and entrances are covered with banners in support of the strike.

The following list of demands was published:

More details:,

Thousands of people protested in front of the parliament in Rome (Italy) where a new austerity package – which will result in budget cuts on various public services (among others education) – was passed. Protesters clashed with riot police.


Hundreds of students and staff held a “Black Parade Against Budget Cuts on Education and Social Services” at the University of the Philippines in Diliman – also to inform about a nationwide student strike set for Sept. 19-23.


Thousands came together for a rally in Santiago (Chile) to continue the struggle for free education for everyone.

September 13th

As the struggle against cuts and for democratic structures in schools continues pupils squatted parts of the centre for secondary education in Bremen (Germany).


More details: (video report in German)

September 12th

The strike at the American University of Cairo (Egypt) continues. Activists went into lectures and encouraged fellow students and professors to join them. The atmosphere on campus and of the strike intesified.

More details:

September 11th

Today students and staff at the American University of Cairo (Egypt) went on strike in an effort to fight increasing tuition fees and for a higher minimum wage as well as basic workers’ rights. Students took over control of all university gates of the university in the morning, which enabled students to park for free. The activists began to squat parts of the campus.

September 10th

Thousands of workers and students gathered in Thessaloniki (Greece) to protest cuts and the recently introduced laws effecting the education system (as explained below). They marched through the city until later at night and rallied in front of the international fair among others.

More details:

September 9th

Teachers blocked the Nairobi-Naivasha highway in Kenya in protest against 20,000 teachers to be employed annually on contract basis instead of permanent basis. Teachers threatened to mobilise parents and pupils to join them in the streets.
“We are not going to work and we have refuted Ongeri’s claim that teachers have agreed that the government could employ teachers on contract basis. We are not ready to go to class and we are not afraid of of being sacked!”

More details:

September 8th

Protesting pupils in Bremen (Germany) ended their occupation at the one gymnasium (Hamburger Straße) and moved on to squat parts of the Kippenberg gymnasium.

Learning together instead of against each other!

More details: (report in German)

Public education unions in Spain mobilised for protests against budget cuts which will result in an increase in work-hours for permanent teachers and eliminate temporary teachers.

Thousands of teachers and students protested against the new education laws (as explained below) in Greece. More than 300 faculties across the country are being squatted by student activists by now.
A huge banner was hung outside the central offices of the state run DEH power company in Greece’s second largest city, Thessaloniki, that were occupied by students. The banner says: “Education, power, water, health care are not commercial products, they belong to the people”:

In the struggle for free education students all over Chile took to the streets again. In Santiago protesters were attacked by riot police resulting in several activists being injured and arrested.

More details:

September 7th

About 100 pupils squatted the main hall of a gymnasium (grammar scool) in Bremen (Germany) over night until thursday to protest budget cuts in education and fight for more democratic structures in schools.

More details: (video report in German; 2nd video) + (report in German)

Students across Colombia went on strike together with teaching staff over a new law opening up universities for private investors. This way autonomy for teaching and research will be restricted even more. In some cities students clashed with riot police.
Furthermore teaching staff is being effected by the removal of their “special health coverage plan”. 300,000 expressed their disapproval of this step in Bogota.

another video on:

September 6th

Cabinet Ministers were confronted by heated protests over the closure of Roscommon hospital’s emergency department and the discussion on tuition fees at the opening of Fine Gael parliamentary party meeting in Galway (Ireland). Two student fee campaigners attempted to block the entrance road to the Radisson Hotel by engaging in a “lock-on” demonstration, while up to 35 Roscommon Hospital Action Committee supporters also vented their anger outside.

Outside, gardaí summoned members of the public order unit after supporters of the Free Education for Everyone group, joined by NUI Galway students’ union, staged a “direct action” protest.

More details:

September 2nd

Since May (school) students across Chile have been on strike and regularly protesting against the increasing commercialisation of education and for free public education. At some stages the government picked up negotiations with university students. Consequently high- and secondary school students felt excluded. To express their anger on this matter they took to the streets today.

More details:

September 1st

After three hot months of general strikes and square occupations, the student movement in Greece started early this academic year: Since August 29, student unions at universities organised emergency general meetings, and squatted more than 224 faculties by September 1st.
Why? On August 24th new laws were passed which aim to change things on different levels: weakening the power of student groups which have been influencing university politics for decades (de-democratisation), scrapping the university asylum law (making repression easier), introducing “independent” evaluations of university academics, restricting the length of time during within which students must complete their degree, opening the doors for the introduction of tuition fees in the future (commercialisation). The overhaul puts an emphasis on business-oriented degrees to the detriment of academic disciplines less in demand by the labour market. Today thousands took to the streets in Athens to protest these changes.

More details: +

Education protests worldwide between May 23-29th ›