We stand in solidarity with our comrades from Për Universitetin, a radical student organisation in Albania, who will be demonstrating against high tuition fees and the expenditure of public funds on private universities on November 22. Their demands include:
- halving all tuition fees;
- higher investment of state funds into the public education system;
- establishment of a publishing enterprise which would provide free schoolbooks for students.
The public education system has undergone a process of systematic degradation not only in Albania, but all over the Balkans. Universities are increasingly being organised in a corporate manner – both in the sense of representing an extension of local neo-liberal economies, and of fermenting competition between students, notably through ever-higher tuition fees and the drastic reduction of the accessibility of higher education to young people from working class or poor backgrounds.
We firmly believe that education should be accessible to everyone and not only to those who have enough money to pay for it. We also state that it must be defended from the creeping process of comodification and marketisation. We must all struggle to create a system of education that encourages critical thinking and self-organisation, and we must fight against a system that serves the interests of private investors and right-wing governments. Education should provide the means of questioning the status quo, not cementing it.
We hope that the students in Albania will emerge victorious from their struggle, and thereby inspire others around the Balkans to take up the fight for better public education systems and against further neo-liberal reforms.
Solidarity is our strength! Solidarnost je naša snaga! Solidariteti është forca jonë!
Socijaldemokratska unija (SDU)