After warming up with capoeira yesterday, wednesday 11th april, I went to Berri UQAM (The university) where students were gathering for a march starting at 21h going through the city center. It’s been 58 days that the students are on strike, boycotting classes due to the increase of the tuition fee for the university that the government want to apply. The tuition fee is today around $2.000 for one semester and the government want to raise it with 75% during a period of 5 years – read more in this article
The politicians defend this decision with explanations such as that the tuition fee hasn’t been indexed at the rate of inflation since the 70’s and that it’s still a much lower cost for university than in the rest of North America and they are not interested in sitting down for a discussion with the students.
The strike could affect many students education, since many courses have been delayed and the university might not be able to arrange the final exams before the end of the semester. A friend of mine are studying medicine to be a nurse and she told me that she agrees with the strike but that the boycotts are mainly held by students that maybe study language or other theoretical subjects, for them it’s easier to catch up with the work at home, and that she is stressed about here economical situation, since she needs to start working and to do so she needs to go to class – they have now arranged classes outside of the university to be prepared for their internship this summer.
After 1h of marching the protesters started to trail off after turning at the police station. I stopped to look for the nearest metro station and a man came to me asking if I needed help, he told me to follow the marching people a few blocks and then pointed out where I should go – while walking he told me that the politicians didn’t care about the students because a lot of students don’t vote. I guess they have themselves to blame for that but I still think that the government should take better care of their students, since they are the future for the country’s economy – and everyone should have the opportunity to study.
I’m lucky coming from Sweden, where all public education is free!
More about this weeks manifestations: here