Members of the Student Plenum will protest, block and boycott classes
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“It is no reform if it moves us out of home”, “Listen to the future”, “If I do not graduate I can be minister”, “Who do you represent?”, “Autonomy”, were some of the students’ messages who along with their professors and fellows occupied the space in front of the Parliament today. The protest was called “MPs are running the lap of honor” as a symbolic reform marathon of the Student plenum. While in the legislature the second plenary session was being prepared on “giving the Amen” to the changes in higher education, the crowd, with a roaring applause, congratulations, saying “BOO” and whistling, with slogans and red marathon stripes was expressing their disagreement with the proposed reforms. “Let’s cheer marathoners in their difficult race – who will first click FOR the law and squandering of education”, students chanted while from the large speaker “Slavish Macedonia” was repeatedly heard.
It resounded in the heads of the present. Among them there were high school students, university students, pensioners … There were hundreds of messages written “No!”. From Student Plenum they say that if today the amendments are passed, the government will hand-held higher education, and there will be no curriculum without government blessing. They reminded that anyone taking an exam will be broadcasted on the Internet. Deans will go to jail if they do not respect the legal provisions. Then if you fail the exam for the second time you will have to pay, two hundred Euros every other time.
“Today even if 10,000 freeze until tonight in front of the Parliament, it will make no difference to the gentlemen and ladies inside. MPs today vote reforms in higher education. If this happens, a committee of professors, selected by our dear Minister Ademi, under the new law will receive a salary as seven Macedonian salaries? Regarding the laws about delay with studies or enrollment in master, no faculty has been asked. All letters and calls sent to the competent were ignored. No one has so far questioned our argument that these laws grossly violate the Constitution of Macedonia. If the law is passed, tomorrow we can dissolve the universities and take a degree from Mr. Ademi personally after he asks us five quiz questions”, said Ana Leshovska of the Student Plenum in front of the auditorium.
Students asked Minister Abdulakim Ademi and the Government whether to have a party book at the exam, or, as they say, just for a job interview. They consider that it is illegitimate to run a so-called public debate, after the bill has been put in Parliament procedure. They emphasize that the dream that speaks of broadmindedness and democracy is not unattainable, so if amendments to the Law on Higher Education are adopted, the plenum will continue fighting with all possible non-institutional measures.
“We take that right, we feel civic responsibility to protect free thought. The authority may not be absolute, so we will boycott, block, and occupy. This protest today is symbolic. We know that we stand in front of corrupt institutions. I have only one message for them – the University is ours and we will take it over again. Civic activism should start, there is a life out of the party”, said Leshovska from the Student Plenum.
And Professors’ plenum is also waiting for today’s parliamentary outcome, and whether President Gjorgje Ivanov will sign or put a veto on the amendments, and therefore will take a stand and will focus on the so-called civil disobedience. This means that they will try to encourage all official university bodies, dean and rector again to confirm the previous negative attitude towards legal changes. Then, in coordination with the academic community, students will begin inventive boycott of classes.
“I think that as a profession and a profile of people, in a way it does not suit that to be manifested only as a boycott of “zero category” or boycott with passivity, inactivity and emptiness. It will be a boycott with various inventive, but no less dramatic and striking activities. The essence is not to freeze the faculty, but exactly the opposite – to blossom. “And in that form that no one expects. One way is the movements of professors and students across the faculties and universities, or their abandonment of the home faculty and visiting another one. Inviting students dealing with art, alternative forms of culture and science to attend outside their departments and with their activities to block and eliminate the classic stereotype unimaginative and conservative functioning of faculties as “separate pots” that do not communicate with one another”, explains professor Dr. Nikos Chausidis of Professors’ plenum.
Among other things, Chausidis highlights that there are initiatives professors and their younger associates to give open lectures. Not only to those for whom such lectures are provided by the curriculum, but also to students from other departments, colleges, universities, and even to other professors from different scientific disciplines. Also, there are ideas for so-called “Professors’ duels”, “professors’ duels” – two professors one after another to give lectures on the same topic, one against another, even contradictory in their concept, with the opportunity even students, through their academic confrontation and debate, to establish a personal view .
“With these and many other actions we intend to foster interdisciplinarity, openness of faculties and especially openness of mind and students. Their critical thinking, building a personal view of the contents of the lectures – capabilities that can no way be assessed or evaluated by the idiot circling in tests of the infamous state exam. Our other objective is bringing together professors and students, that is, building mutual respect and trust between them. A process that has recently entered our universities in a grand manner”, says Chausidis, emphasizing that it is the only precondition for full elimination of the newly proposed Law on Higher Education and introducing new, on which, as announced, the Plenum has already started working.
Editor: Stojanka Mitreska