Against “austerity” and “corporatisation” of universities, Greek students protest

The Times Logo (Malta)

Thursday, September 1, 2011
AFP– Greek students protest university reforms

Greek students held sit-ins at several universities yesterday to protest adoption of reforms by Parliament to make the country’s universities more competitive, local media reported.

In a protest that started earlier this week, the occupation affected about 40 institutions by yesterday, on the eve of demonstrations planned for Athens and Salonika, the reports said.

Many of the students were affiliated to radical and communist movements.

Last week, the Greek Parliament backed a bill which aims to improve the operation of universities marred by chronic waste of state funds and nepotism.

It also seeks to end the practice of thousands of Greek families sending their children to study abroad every year instead of opting for domestic institutions which are regularly shut down by student occupations and protests.

The overhaul has been criticised by many academics and leftist political parties who say it puts undue emphasis on business-oriented degrees to the detriment of other academic disciplines less in demand by employers.

An attempt by the government to open university boards to outsiders such as business leaders has also proved controversial.

Greece: The students side of the story

Press release of the Occupied Universities of Athens

Saturday September 3 2011
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Press Release — Student Unions and Occupied Universities of Athens

On the day of the official academic-year opening, the student movement, the university personnel and the academic community as a whole declare proudly: this education reform will be blocked. Our decisive struggle has just started! It already counts 96 occupied departments of Universities and Polytechnics (cc. the occupied departments are now more than 200) and one big demonstration against the reform and the governmental policy (7000 demonstrators on September 1rst , in Athens).

We declare our disobedience to the political decisions of the alliance of PASOK-ND-LAOS (cc. social democrats-conservatis-extreme right) and the directives of the Troika (EU, IMF, ECB). We warn them that we are not stepping back unless the reform is withdrawn and the ones that voted for it leave. We are not terrorized by the behated minority of the 250 members of the parliament who, following the orders of Troika and the IMF, have brought the youth and the working people at the edge of the cliff. Continue reading