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University students in the Czech Republic

During the epoch of socialism in Czechoslovakia, the university study was free and focused on raising education level of the working class. In addition, all the citizens possessed a right to work, which was granted by the constitution. Proportion of students was closely related to a planned development of socialist economy; hence graduates were employed in the field they had studied.

Nowadays, after reestablishing of capitalism, division of Czechoslovakia and incorporation of the Czech Republic into NATO and EU, students have become one of main supports of the counterrevolution. They are ideologically under the hegemony of the former members of dissent, though their influence is decreasing because of disillusion by the capitalist development. Among the students at universities apolitical thinking, tending to anticommunism and elitism, is very common. Interesting feature is that nowadays there is no unified organization which could express students' interests.

It is an irony of history that students are under attack of current right wing coalition as a part of its austerity measures. This government wants to implement tuition fees at universities. After certain resistance this intention was softened to the so-called postponed tuition fees, which still mean entering of graduates in life with high personal debts, and a reduced availability of study for the working class and the middle classes. Moreover, such a structure of education funding is another warranted long-term profit for the banks. Meanwhile, before the tuition fees will be introduced, the already existing entrance fees are raised.

This evolution is just another step after adoption of Bologna process, which unifies the university education in Europe. Its focus is again on the so called competitiveness, i.e. cutting down the costs of education, and adaptation of students to the needs of the capitalist class.

There are only two possible solutions of this situation. Either, the student movement will stay disintegrated and isolated from broader social movement. This would lead to university education as a privilege for bourgeoisie, education subsumed under the reproduction of capital, subject of overproduction, unemployment and crises. Or, this development will be shifted on another trail, students will prove solidarity with all exploited classes, and join the common fight against imperialism and for socialism.

Initiative SOS student, platform of university and secondary school students, is warning against the first scenario. By means of discussions, organizing of petitions or participation in demonstrations, it is pointing at the need of building of a broad solidarity.



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