European Alternatives has participated in and supported a European student meeting, Episteme, organised by our partner Rete della Conocenza, with the participation of student activist groups from across Europe. The discussions analysed the different educational and welfare systems, discussing the importance of governance and democracy and the question of how to get a say in the EU decision-making process on education.
Here is the statement issued by participants after the day of discussions.
Today, 2nd august 2015, we met in Riot Village with delegations from the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Greece, Austria, Denmark and Italy, in order to share experiences, analysis and programs regardings the common condition of students in Europe.
During the discussion we have analysed the effects of European strategies about the building of the so called ‘knowledge economy’ in schools and universities:
– on access to knowledge, more and more based on criteria of the socio-economic background because of the attack on welfare systems;
– on the rearticulation of schools’ and universities’ internal governance. These educational spaces are experiencing the closure of the spaces of participation for students and workers and a growing influence, both direct and indirect, by private companies;
– on the mutations of the forms of teaching methods and evaluation as a result of the transformation of the social role of knowledge, which is more and more subordinated to short-term private interests so losing its capacity of transformation of reality.
Many of these processes are strengthening with the European economic and financial crisis. The governance of austerity and the blackmail of debt have highlighted inequalities also concerning access to education and to its capability of guaranteeing a future of dignity to each and every of us. Today, from the first time after World War II, our generation lives material conditions which are poorer than the ones the previous generation experienced. We are convinced that education plays a crucial role in this process and that our struggle in schools and universities is capable of inverting this process.
We cannot forget the crisis has an effect on the whole society. Those governing us are constantly repeating the mantra that we must repay the debt through less rights, less resources for education and welfare, less democracy. We want to say that today, after five years of cuts and attacks on education and rights, we are more than ever in credit of democracy, of rights, of resources. Our aim is to extend the greek ‘OXI’, which was pronounced with the referendum, on a european scale: we have not only to stand in solidarity; we want to connect the struggles because austerity affects our lives too and the debt’s blackmail can be broken by rebuilding positive power dynamics in opposition of european elites.
For this reason we believe that it is fundamental to imagine and practice a European mobilisation together during the upcoming months, which could maybe start from the shared experience of the International Students Day on the 17th November. We open this proposal starting from our students’ condition and from our generation, as well as from our struggles which developed in recent months. We believe this perspective can be extended to all those who believe that austerity is not the solution and instead that there is an alternative that we want to start practicing. We need to stop the actual policies to give space to democracy and the possibility of a dignified future for all.
The students from the international meeting ἐπιστήμη
Rete della Conoscenza
Link Coordinamento Universitario
Unione Degli Studenti
Union Nationale Lycéenne
Aktion Kritischer Schüler_Innen (AKS)
De Nieuwe Universiteit Amsterdam
National Campaign Against Fees And Cuts
DGS – Danske Gymnasieelevers Sammenslutning