Czech students fight tuition fees

This Associated Press video from the Czech republic says about itself:

1. Various protesters walking with banners and signs
2. Tight tracking shot of protesters walking and chanting
3. Wide pan of protesters walking
4. Pan of banner reading (Czech) “Freedom of school = freedom of society”
5. SOUNDBITE (Czech) Josef Matyasek, student:
“I don’t like the government’s attitude, their planned reforms of the universities, I don’t like that the autonomy of the universities will be weakened, I don’t like that they will interfere with our rights and the free will of the nation that should have the rights to maintain this public sector.”
6. Close up of student chanting “We are here.”
7. Close up of model of bolt with name of school on it reading (Czech) “Technical University in Liberec“, government building in background
8. SOUNDBITE (Czech) Andrea Tofflerova, student:
“I have an apocalyptic feeling that this won’t change anything, it’s not like the student protests in 1989 and nowadays the students don’t have such a strong say as back then.”
9. Top shot of protesters holding banners
10. Top shot of protesters and police
11. Wide pan of protest


Thousands of students were rallying in Prague on Wednesday to protest against government reforms they claim would limit academic freedoms.

Students and universities fear new plans would give politicians more power over their operations and are upset over proposed changes introducing fees for the first time.

“I don’t like the government’s attitude, their planned reforms of the universities, I don’t like that the autonomy of the universities will be weakened, I don’t like that they will interfere with our rights and the free will of the nation that should have rights to maintain this public sector,” said Josef Matyasek, a student from Prague at the protest.

Students gathered at a downtown square and planned to march through the city to the seat of government to call on the Cabinet to reject the proposed changes.

The plans would replace academic oversight board of professors and students with new panels, which could include politicians and businessmen.

Rallies are also planned in other major cities.

From daily The Morning Star in England:

Protests over government plans for tuition fees

Tuesday 17 April 2012

Czech students continued a week of action on Tuesday against the government’s plans to introduce fees for university courses.

Hundreds of people took part in a workshop on the social implications of the charges at Charles University in Prague before attending a meeting on building alliances between academics and trade unionists.

Activist Michael Uhl slammed the right-wing coalition government for seeking to slap students with fees of up to 3,500 crowns (£116) a term.

“We reject the imposition of any charges for secondary education and we reject any commercialisation of welfare system,” Mr Uhl declared.

“Tuition fees will threaten access to education for economically weaker sections of the population.”

Activists have planned a series of public meetings and protests in other university towns throughout the country including Olomouc and Liberec.

They are producing a newspaper, Unrest, before a mass anti-government rally in Prague’s Wenceslas Square on Saturday.

The Czech name of the new students paper is Neklid.

12 thoughts on “Czech students fight tuition fees

  1. Walkout could break coalition

    CZECH REPUBLIC: The right-wing government’s future looked uncertain today after several members of a junior coalition partner walked out on their party following a bribery scandal.

    Prime Minister Petr Necas said today that if he cannot confirm before next week that his three-party coalition still holds a parliamentary majority, new elections would be called.

    “If I don’t have clear information that the government has a secure majority by Monday at the latest, the right solution would be to hold early parliamentary elections in June,” he declared.


  2. Communist Party second in polls

    CZECH REPUBLIC: The Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSCM) has overtaken the governing Civic Democratic Party (ODS) in the opinion polls, taking it to second place.

    According to a poll by the CVVM agency released on Thursday if elections were held now the opposition Social Democrats would win with over one-third of the vote, followed by the KSCM with one-fifth.

    Prime Minister Petr Necas of the ODS has said he will call elections if he doesn’t know by next week whether his coalition has retained its majority.


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  8. Students march for end of tuition fees

    UNITED STATES: Students called for free university education and cancellation of their debts at over 100 campuses on Thursday.

    The so-called “Million Student March” also demanded a minimum wage of $15 (£10) per hour for all campus workers.

    Left-wing Democratic Party presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, who has pledged free university education, was said to be supporting the protest.


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