BRUSSELS – On International Students’ Day, 17 November 2014, we call on student organisations around the world to stand up for free education. On 17 November, we commemorate past student struggles and draw attention to the current ones. In 2014, as policy makers around the world gather to set a global education framework in the Post-2015 Development Agenda, we take action to assert the common student interest. We declare, most fundamentally that: education is a right. To guarantee the educational, civic and social rights of students and citizens, we demand free education; which means an education that is, at all levels.
Education is not a commodity to be bought and sold but the key to the development of an informed and emancipated society. Education must remain a public responsibility, in service of the public good. The universal right to education should be guaranteed through the abolition of all financial barriers to education, including tuition fees and hidden costs. Education is a right, not a privilege!
Education systems often replicate the oppressive structures of wider society, perpetuating discrimination and social inequality. Instead, educational institutions must actively deconstruct prejudice and stereotypes to ensure the equal rights of all people in education and in society. Education is a path to emancipation!
Increasingly, students are targeted by institutions, governments and regimes in their imposition of damaging educational and social reforms. Those in power must live up to their responsibilities: upholding students’ rights to express themselves and organise without fear; protecting students in conflict and guaranteeing their right to engage in civil society. Student rights are human rights!
We, the undersigned, call on student organisations around the world to unite in solidarity on 17 November: to defend our rights and stand up for free education, to take collective action to fight for fairer education systems and juster societies for all.To co-sign the call, as an organisation or individual, contact Luke Shore at: firstname.lastname@example.org
European Students’ Union (ESU)
Organising Bureau of European School Student Unions (OBESSU)
Canadian Federation of Students (CFS/FCEE)
United States Student Association (USSA)