Almost a year ago, Austrian students occupied the Audimax, the largest lecture hall of the University of Vienna, to protest against their studying conditions. The Austrian students protests led to a lot of different actions in the student movement across Europe. Austrian students are now again taking to the streets.
“A year later the conditions for students are even worse”, says Sigrid Maurer, Chairperson of the Austrian National Union of Students (ÖH) .
“Although there have been big public discussions about all different aspects of our educational system, not any change has been undertaken and the situation is getting worse. The Austrian ministry for education and science still thinks that reintroducing tuition fees and restricting the access to higher education is the only solution to ensure our education system’s quality, despite of the fact that Austria has 17 % less students entering higher education institutions than the OECD average”, says Maurer
Funding is also a hot topic at the moment.
“Although everybody knows that our higher education institutions desperately need more money, the government is planning cuts in the budget. This will have great impact on staff and students, as on society as a whole”, says Maurer.
In order to fight for a more open, publicly funded educational system and better studying & working conditions the Austrian National Union of Students (ÖH) together with the rectors and the staff organized general assemblies for today, 19th of October at almost every university. There were also be several actions and workshops during the day, and these were followed by several big demonstrations in the Austrian cities.
“We hope the protest will again spread all over Europe and lead to sustainable funding and free, emancipating education for all”, says Maurer.
ESU hopes ÖH and the Austrian students will succeed in keeping Austrian education tuition-free.
“We are following the situation in Austria with great interest” says ESU Chairperson Bert Vandenkendelaere.
Published October 20, 2010