University students across the country said Tuesday that they will not lift their ongoing strike against a controversial government proposal to reform higher education in Colombia, according to a report by El Espectador.
Spokesperson for the Federation of University Students, Jairo Rivera, affirmed that “we will not lift the strike until they withdraw the draft, and we have the participation of 60 universities.”
The statements were made in response to an announcement by the Education Minister Maria Fernando Campo Monday that the government would support the reform plans “in a comprehensive and determined manner.”
The proposed reform provoked nationwide protests because of plans to allow private organizations to fund university activities. Although the government decided on August 23 to withdraw the for-profit section of the reform, students and professors alike still remain outraged at what they call an “attack on public education.”
Rivera also said that “we believe that it is a lie when they say they withdrew the profit motive and that there will be more resources.”
Colombian students maintained that the governments goal to accept more university students, roughly 640,000 over the next four years, would mean that overall educational resources in the country would be insufficient to provide for the entire national university population.
Protests began in April following the announcement of the proposed reforms and have been taking place across the country ever since.