Spain’s university students are protesting Thursday to demand an end to cuts and rising fees, and the head of the country’s education minister.
A strike has been called for all public universities in Madrid while demonstrations are planned in Barcelona, Sevilla, Zaragoza and Granada.
The action, which is also about staff cuts, was called by student assemblies and has received the support from the main union confederations Workers’ Comissions and UGT, along with a large number of civil society collectives campaigning against austerity and the privatization of public services.
Student organizers labelled education minister José Ignacio Wert “the worst since the re-establishment of the democracy.’
The Spanish government recently secured 40 billion euros of European funds for Spanish banks but says there’s no alternative to making big cuts to education, as well as health and social services.
Spanish universities have lost 3,000 lecturers over the past year while tuition fees have been hiked substantially, ranging from 33% in the region of Valencia to up to 66.7% in Catalonia, deterring students from lower income families and forcing others into debt.
This year, central government funding to universities is to be slashed by 18% with a 7% cut in funding for research and development.