Education

More than 30,000 Victorian teachers and education support (ES) staff walked off the job on February 14 in their campaign for better pay and conditions. Government figures show that 65% of school staff took part in strike action and 300 schools did not have students. Meredith Peace, Australian Education Union (AEU) state president, also reported that more than 300 schools were brought to a standstill and that every school in the state had some form of disruption.

Comedian and socialist Mark Steel addressed a protest against cuts and privitisation at Sussex University on February 12. Students at Sussex University have been occupying the university's conference centre since February 6 against the university's outsourcing of key services.

Thousands of government and private school teachers plus education support (ES) staff will stop work for 24 hours on February 14. They will attend two separate stop work meetings, then join to march together on the Victorian parliament to show their determination to win better working conditions and pay. Why are teachers and ES staff striking?

Last August, La Trobe University was engulfed in protests from students demanding a reversal of cuts to the humanities and social sciences faculty. More than 600 subjects and 41 full-time positions were permanently wiped out by the corporate-minded vice-chancellor, John Dewar.   The campaign of peaceful protest and civil disobedience has been faced with severe repression and violence from the university security. One piece of video footage clearly showed a member of the security team physically assaulting and injuring one of the protest organisers.
The statement below was released by students charged over protests against cuts at Melbourne's La Trobe University. * * * Three La Trobe students are under threat of expulsion from the university for their participation in a campaign to stop major cuts in the Humanities and Social Sciences (HUSS) department.
Alia Amirali is a leading left activist, general secretary of the National Student Federation (Punjab) and a member of the new united left party Awami Workers' Party who will be visiting Australia in January 2013 to be the international guest speaker at the 9th national conference of the Socialist Alliance. She is also a researcher on the Baloch National Movement and a lecturer at Quaid-e-Azam University.
Around Australia, proponents of neoliberalism have led attacks on tertiary education an ideological onslaught against the idea of well-funded public education.   In July, Fred Hilmer, vice-chancellor of UNSW and chair of the Group of 8 Universities, a coalition of university managements, called for total fee deregulation and “cutting red tape”.  
Staff and students from across all six University of Western Sydney (UWS) campuses protested on November 21, in opposition to university management plans to axe several courses. Among the courses to go are Arabic, Spanish, Italian, the Bachelor of Communication sub-majors in writing, performance and animation, and the entire Economics degree. Along with these, the jobs of 29 academics in the School of Business and a further 25 in the School of Humanities and Communication Arts will be cut.
About 300 students from the Paraguayan National University and the private Catholic University marched to the national police headquarters in Asuncion on October 25 to protest the new Law of Higher Education (LES). The law passed through the lower house of the Paraguayan Congress three weeks earlier, and is currently before the Upper House. During the protest, Romilio Gonzalez and Johana Orihuela, members of the Popular University Movement, spoke to Green Left Weekly. “This is one of a number of actions we are carrying out,” Orihuela said.
The NSW Coaltion government has given James Packer's monster casino approval to take prime inner city space in Sydney, but children from an inner city public school are set to be kicked out for several years as the space is sold off to property developers.

This rally and march on October 31 to protest moves by the Sydney University administration to weaken the Koori Centre has already won some ground.

More than 100 students from the University of Tasmania attended a forum on October 16 to question university administrators over plans to restructure the Faculty of Arts. It was organised by students of the university in response to disquiet over potential changes to degree structures and curricula. This came just a week after the faculty dean, Professor Susan Dodds, announced that the existing 10 departments would be amalgamated into three bigger entities.