The protest started at 3 pm on Congress Sq. with about 2,000 protestors attending. Chants started with: “Chancellor, minister, we’re hanging on by a whisker”, and went on with: “The act should be sacked!”
“The act has taken the anomaly out of part-time study programmes and implemented it into regular studies,” told a participant at the protest to MMC. “As examples from abroad show, once tuitions are introduced, it’s impossible to get rid of them,” warns one of the protesters. “We’re fighting against increasing appetite of the capital, which can only be stopped if we’re united and unified,” urged the protesters standing on the improvised stage at the park’s anchor, announcing the act on higher education is just the beginning of a revolt that will unite the people in the fight against the gluttony of capital.
About an hour later the protesters slowly set out on a walk through the city. They left the Congress Sq. down the Wolf St., crossed the Prešeren Sq. and walked up the Masaryk St. past the railway station to reach the premises of the ministry of education. They halted in front of the ministry and kept chanting the main slogan of the protest: “The act should be sacked!” They announced over a megaphone that this would not be the last protest, and warned Minister of Education Jernej Pikalo they would be back.
Criticism of the commercialization of public universities
The organizers of the protest, the Iskra Student Society, claim that the new act on higher education is introducing tuitions into regular studies, increasing the workload for professors and deepening the commercialization of public universities. The introduction of tuitions will, as Iskra believes, cause a boom of payable regular studies on both the undergraduate as well as the graduate levels, since the new act will make it much easier to “pump” the money out of students and their families.
According to Iskra, the new act is a step further on the path towards destruction of common good in the name of increasing private profits. Tuitions are a mechanism of the continued draining of families, which will have to give a significant share of their income for the education of their children, warns Iskra.
Supported by trade unions
The protest against the new act has been supported by Education, Science and Culture Trade Union of Slovenia (Sviz), which also co-signed a recent memorandum written by the trade unions in higher education and student representatives, in which the two groups had pointed out the controversies of the act on higher education.
ŠOS: They’re lying
The Slovenian Student Union (ŠOS) didn’t participate in the protest, since they’re “condoning the spreading of lies” about tuitions being introduced into regular studies. Minister Jernej Pikalo also emphasized at the press conference on Wednesday that the act is good and aimed at limiting the current anomalies in higher education, not at introducing the tuitions in any way. The ministry will attempt to convince the opponents of the act about this, too.