Yesterday Erasmus Mundus Association (EMA) expressed its support of the Albanian students’ protest and their demands for a new reform in higher education. EMA is the association for all students and graduates of Erasmus Mundus Master and Doctoral Programmes.
Students are protesting against the Rama government’s reform, which has resulted in higher tariffs and inaccessibility in higher education.
On their 9th day of protests, this morning students have moved in front of the Parliament’s building. Students have continuously resisted PM Rama’s late invitation to negotiate with them regarding their years-long demands. They have planned to take their protest to Prime Minister’s office in the evening hours.
Following is the full statement by EMA made on 12 December 2018.
Statement of Solidarity – Albanian Student ProtestsThe Erasmus Mundus Association (EMA) stands in solidarity with the Albanian students as they protest higher student fees and subsequent decreased accessibility to quality higher education.Erasmus programs were founded on the principle of accessibility of Higher Education Systems by students, regardless of their background. It sets an even playing field for students of varying social, financial, cultural and national origins, emphasizing the importance of a quality education for those who seek it.The Erasmus Mundus Association (EMA) therefore stands in solidarity with the Albanian students as they protest higher student fees and subsequent decreased accessibility to quality higher education. We at EMA understand the wider-reaching effects of such decision and encourage persons to effect change in a positive manner. When voices come together, they can be heard louder.It saddens us that such an event is occurring on the heel of our #DoesItMatter campaign which is based on equality, but we encourage you to explore why it matters to take this stance.
Earlier the European Students’ Union (ESU) had also expressed its support and solidarity with the Albanian students protest. ESU is an international student umbrella organization representing about 20 million students in 39 countries.
Contrary to the European students’ unconditional support and solidarity with the Albanian students’ demand for dignity in education, the European Union Delegation in Albania has failed for the 10th day in a raw to express its opinion about students’ protest. While protests have captivated minds and souls of all Albanians, ironically the EU Delegation has a full focus on marginal issues like inviting students to attend a debate on research and development in Albania; inviting them to read books in one of Delegation’s events; or even inviting kids to attend a theater play.
The Albanian students might still be waiting for the EU representatives in Albania to rise to the level of their duty and properly voice the European students’ and citizens’ concerns regarding real issues affecting the Albanian society.