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Colombia: Universities Continue Strike in Protest of Law 30

“This is not the generation that will see the public university die”. With this statement disseminated through various media, Colombian university students are trying to call the attention of the national government as they demand that the bill to reform higher education Law 30 be revoked. The students argue that the reform would privatize public universities, and have emphasized they will not start academic activities – which were stopped two weeks ago – until the government withdraws the bill from Congress.

The government has been persistent on its position through the Minister of Education, stating that the reform benefits the interests of the Colombian people. It recently launched a television campaign which seeks to persuade Colombians to accept such reform.

The campaign triggered a video response by Representative Angela Robledo which is still circulating on the Internet. In the video Robledo analyzes the campaign and argues that Law 30 is an undemocratic project that lacks legitimacy. She also emphasizes the lack of investment in education because the money is being diverted to war and mining. At the end Robledo calls on the Minister and the government to withdraw the project and consult with students to reach the best higher education reform.

However, college students are still not attending classes and continue with mobilizations in various [es] parts of Colombia. The students accomplished to set up a meeting with the government for Monday October 31 [es] to evaluate the current draft of the amendment to Law 30. Nevertheless, Internet demonstrations are still present with new accounts on Facebook and other publications on social networks.

The blog El Salmón has published various [es] entries [es] on the subject. In “Kisses and Hugs at Tolima University” [es] this blogger says:

La Lucha Universitaria contra la corrupción en la UT y contra la Ley 30, no sólo incluye luchar contra la universidad-empresa, aquella que hace uso de la educación para lucro económico de los inversionistas, sino que también reclama al Estado el aumento de presupuesto en la inversión social  (salud, vivienda, cultura, deporte y educación).

The student struggle against corruption at UT [Tolima University] and against Law 30, not only includes fighting against the business-university, one that makes use of education to gain economic profit for investors, but the struggle is also demanding that the State increase its budget for social investment (health, housing, culture, sport and education).

Magazine Hekatombe [es] publishes the words of the Minister of Education regarding the student strike:

Cuando se completan casi dos semanas de paro estudiantil en las universidades públicas del país, en protesta contra la reforma a la Ley 30, la ministra de Educación, María Fernanda Campo, aseguró que la posibilidad de que se cancele el semestre académico depende de los directivos de cada institución.

With nearly two weeks of the student strike in the country's public universities in protest against the reform of Law 30, Education Minister Maria Fernanda Campo said the possibility of canceling the semester depends on the administration of each institution

Netizens are sharing reactions on Twitter with #Ley30 ,”paro universitario” (“university strike”), #NoReformaLey30 and #NoLey30:

Fabián Figueroa (@fafv) reports that the University of Pamplona also joined the university strike:

¡Se une la Unipamplona al paro nacional universitario! No son vacaciones, son horas de trabajo para luchar por el futuro.

¡Unipamplona joins the national strike! These is not vacation, it is working hours to fight for the future

While Daniel Camilo (@DkmilOx) shows his disappointment at the indifference of students from private universities:

… q rabo el leer a jóvenes universitarios q por estar estudiando en Universidades privadas piensan q la reforma a la #ley30 no les afecta

…it angers me to read university students that think that because they are studying at private universities the reform of #ley30 doesn't affect them

Laura Barreto (@LauraBarreto) shares her perspective as a student from a private university:

Con todo esto de la #Ley30 me siento discriminada por estudiar en Universidad Privada.

With all this surrounding #Law30 I feel discriminated for studying at a private university

Omar Ferrer (@OFFezt) tweeted in response to a Laura Guarín (@Laliguarin):

@Laliguarin Si no protesto, es porque quizás no creo que la #ley30 sea tan satánica para el futuro del país. No porque sea millonario

@Laliguarin If I don't protest, it is because maybe I do not think that  #law30 it is as satanic for the future of the country. Not because I'm a millionaire
Students in Bogotá participating in a protest. Photo by Luis Gomez, Copyright Demotix (26/10/2011)

Students in Bogotá participating in a protest. Photo by Luis Gomez, Copyright Demotix (26/10/2011)

Tati Triana (@TatianaTriana) emphasizes the general lack of education:

No existe universidad privada. Existe un pueblo privado de educación #NoReformaLey30!

Private universities don't exist. What we have is people deprived of education #NoToReformOfLaw30!

Kristian López (@musickris) responds to a tweet by the President of Colombia to lament the situation and the reform:

@JuanManSantos quiero estudiar, quiero algun dia reparar los daños que ud y sus antecesores le produjeron a COLOMBIA #noreformaley30

@JuanManSantos I want to study, I want to one day repair the damage that you and your predecessors have caused COLOMBIA #notoreformof law30

Sebastián Jaimes (@Cbaz_Jaimhez), referring to the regional elections on October 30, proposes the following:

Propongo marcar en el papel Electoral: ¡NO A LA REFORMA DE LA LEY 30, QUIERO ESTUDIAR!. #NoLey30

I propose to write in the Electoral ballot NO TO REFORM OF LAW 30, I WANT TO STUDY! #NoLaw30

Finally, Oscar Cuervo Ariza (@ocuervoa), student of Economics, asks for seriousness in the discussion of reform:

Quiero propuestas serias, discursos serios para debatir reforma a #ley30 ya basta de esos discursos melancolicos y politizados

I want serious proposals, serious speeches to discuss the reform of #law30, enough with these melancholic and politicized speeches

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