Educational reforms in Norway and Colombia

The Norwegian government is leading a destructive educational policy, both home and abroad.

The Colombian Student Union ACEU has this year been awarded the students peace price. They are fighting the commercialization of education in Colombia under very difficult circumstances. Under the constant threat of assassination from right-wing militia the ACEU has been struggling against the massive handover of higher education to the private sector, and out of the public responsibility and control.

The Norwegian government is assisting in this development. Through demands through the GATS-negotiations to have higher education in Colombia opened up to foreign commercial actors, the Norwegian government has de facto supported The Colombian president Alvaro Uribes politics on higher education.

It is important to put these problems in the spotlight in connection with the distribution of the Students Peace Price, and we demand that the Norwegian government retracts its demands on liberalization of the educational sector in Colombia.

When we look at the Norwegian governmets educational policies abroad, it should come as no surprise that the current Norwegian government, represented by minister for education, Kristin Clemet, has lead a very destructive educational policy at home as well.

During the last few years, she has managed to get the entire educational community in Norway against her, on every level. Students and teachers at all levels, the primary, secondary and high-school-level have boycotted standardized tests, on both a pedagogical and statistical basis. She recently evoked the largest protest from the university-community in many years just a few weeks ago, when thousands of students, professors and university employees marched on the Norwegian parliament, to protest her attempts to remove the academic democracy. This part of her new law on higher education luckily, did not get support by the parliament, unfortunately, other parts did.

This minister for education, and the current Norwegian government is pushing Norwegian education in a neoliberal direction clearly of ideological reasons against ongoing protests from both students and teachers - the people who actually have education as their professions. Education in Norway is currently developing in the same political direction that has ruined higher education in Colombia. The same political path that made Tony Blair in Great Britain raise the students tuition massively. All to make Norway the best kid in the European Union Class (a union Norway is officially not a part of) in making the EU the most competitive educationally based economy by 2010, as stated in the Bologna-agreement. We have managed to halt the progression of this destructive policy, but the government will continue trying, but I will make a promise here today: We will continue fighting every step of the way for a free, independent and democratic education.

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