Cuts to Education: Impressions from the national student demonstration

Photos by Coen van der Steen and Markus Balkenhol

In the Netherlands, the cutbacks to higher education have become a controversial issue. They are part of wider austerity measures taken by the Dutch government in the wake of the global financial crisis. In this context, education reform has become a focus of discussion inside and outside universities. This series, “Cuts to Education,” includes pieces from various vantage points in the education cutbacks debate.

By Donya Alinejad The student demonstration in The Hague last Friday was referred to as one of the largest in the country since 1988. In a historical first, approximately 1000 Professors – that’s one third of all the professors at Dutch universities – marched in full academic garb as a statement of solidarity with the protesting students. The reason: Opposition to the cabinet’s drastic education cutbacks. Since then, Prime Minister Mark Rutte has announced during a routine press conference that the plans for cut backs will simply continue. So what was the effect of the student demonstration?

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Reading a Post-Apartheid Memorial

Photo by April Killingsworth

Duane Jethro Sunday 8 August, 2010: I am on an expedition to find an elusive Sunday Times memorial in Soweto, Johannesburg. On the way, I drive through Vilakazi Street, passing by Nelson Mandela’s former home. It has been transformed into a museum. The precinct surrounding his former domicile is teeming with tourists and a host of locals plying a range of different commercial strategies aimed at cashing in on the spoils of the heritage venture. Further along the way, I pass the monumental Hector Pieterson Memorial and Media Centre, another heritage project erected during the post-apartheid era dedicated to the memory of the first student to have died in the 1976 student uprisings. Soweto seems to be brimming with new, rich heritage ventures mapping the formerly hidden histories of its former residents. The memorial I am in search of is not very different, having been dedicated to another forgotten memorable moment in time.

I perform a radical driving manoeuvre having suddenly spotted the artwork. The wheels churn up a cloud of dust as I swerve into the open plot of ground opposite Morris Isaacson High School in Jabulani section. Lees verder

Antropologisch Kieskompas: Education Cutbacks

In our new series “Antropologisch Kieskompas (Anthropological Election Compass) anthropologists express their views on important issues in the upcoming Parliamentary Elections. These include integration, development, environment, and education. The authors reflect critically on how particular current affairs are being dealt with in the public. In this week’s posting, Donya Alinejad writes about the changes to higher education and the student reactions.

By Donya Alinejad This Friday, May 21st, at 13.00, a demonstration against the financial cut-backs on Dutch education will be held in Amsterdam. Demonstrators will start gathering at 13.00 on Damplein and will lead a procession march to Museumplein, where speeches, concerts, and rallies will commence from 14.00 onward. The aim is to fill the Museumplein in defense of higher education and against the planned 20% cutbacks, thus sending a clear political message to leaders in the Hague: no more cutbacks on education. The initiators of the protests are the student groups, LSVb, ISO, JOB, LKvV, and Comite SOS. They are sponsored by radio station Wild FM and have the support of other student and grassroots organizations. Lees verder