The massive student protests against Colombia’s planned university reform are met by most outside the university world, myself included, with ignorance. To understand the students’ objections to the reform I tried to translate a pamphlet I found on the Internet, and figured I’d share it.
If you are looking for arguments in favor of the controversial “Law 30”, I recommend this post on Colombian blog Banana Skin Flip Flops.
Why is the national, public and private academic community questioning and opposing Law 30?
Is it is as good as they make it look?
Is it so that there is more budget for higher education?
Will there be an increased inclusion?
Will there be an ongoing improvement of the educative quality?
Will the autonomy of the institutions be respected?
Will the right to education be respected?
The national academic community says “no!” because:The royalties continue to be a profit-based form of financing and with profit you do not guarantee quality, just the enrichment of a few who are granted the contracts as has happened with Law 100 and health, [Bogota’s mass transit system] Transmilenio, [Bogota’s] water supply system, [energy company] ETB, among others.
You, father of a family, citizen, man or woman, who has been victim of housing credit (which is necessary to survive), will endebt yourself with your child to pay his study, knowing that later you continue to pay for 15 years? In short: Study 5 years and endebt yourself for 15? This will be the situation we will be forced into if we support the minister’s proposed reform.
The technical and technological careers will have priority in student loans. Moreover, it would be the institutes who will benefit from the education of our children — according to this law — Which implies that becoming a professional will continue to be a privilege to a minority, while the majority of the population would be preparing themselves for cheap labor, machine workers, dedicated to only jobs without the right to think. We want to think, we want to transform, we want to question, investigate, because it is knowledge that is the road to the real human and social development.
To obtain a good result in high school exams does not guarantee the social recognition or the financial support taking into account that one assumes a a “scholarship credit.” Yet another debt?! What happened to state responsibility? What happened to the taxes we ALL pay?
In a society like ours where education is enacted as a fundamental right it is the duty of the state to provide quality education, access to this to all for free and framed within the rule of law. Because of the above, it is not possible to allow these types of reforms nd because of this, we oppose to the fact that our right to education as academic community becomes vulnerable, is not respected and we are being misled. Education is no commodity.
Our voice is being heard and we invite you, your family and the community to mobilize and unite with the protest against this law reform.
Minister, we DO know how to read and interpret what the reform bill says. Because of this you can not fool us.
For those wanting more information: