dissabte, 25 d’abril de 2009

25th April: College Occupations

In addition to actions held by current university students regarding the implementation of the Bologna Process in Catalonia, groups of college students, those facing a future crippled by the privatising reforms, are mobilising. This week, a campaign of college occupations is occurring in the Catalan territories, organised by student assemblies.

On Monday 20th April Around 100 students from four colleges in Sabadell (near Barcelona) passed the night in l'Escola Industrial college in the centre of the city. They slept in the patio because the headteacher wouldn't let them in the building, and thus avoided eviction. The occupation was organised with different events scheduled over its three day duration. The purpose of the action was to make the teaching institution an informative space, since information regarding the educational reforms is being blocked from those affected.

The Menéndez y Pelayo college was occupied on the night of 22nd April. They were evicted on Thursday 23rd April at around 9pm, having resisted for an hour but later leaving after threats of expulsion. The police beat the students inside, partially protected by nightfall, as passers-by heckled at the repressive forces to stop. Between 20 and 30 students were evicted.

On Friday 24th April the Ramon Berenguer IV college (Barcelona) was occupied at midday by around 30 students planning to hold a series of activities in the liberated space. The police were called almost immediately and a rally was held outside the building with students, parents and members of the community. Those inside decided to continue with their planned events. An eviction process started but was halted at 1am on Saturday morning following an agreement made between the headteacher and the students, who left at 6pm on Saturday. It's notable that throughout the occupation, the students were met with the support and solidarity of community members, to the extent that they woke up on Saturday morning to hot chocolate and biscuits brought to them by neighbours.

As well as fighting against the implementation of the Bologna Process, colleges are fighting against the new LEC (Catalan Education Law) and LOE (Organic Education Law). These laws will detract from schools' autonomy (obliging them to source funds from businesses), discriminate against immigrant students, give the head-teacher (now chosen by an administrative body) new powers and create an external ranking agency which will value – rather than the acquirement of knowledge – foreign language capacity, IT skills and student behaviour as a basis for funding. This funding system will harm schools in poorer areas creating an educational divide between the rich and the poor. These reforms are clear examples of social control tactics used to keep the poor “in their place”.

A student strike is being called for the 29th April.

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