Today is 17th November and we celebrate International Students’ Day!
In 1939 there was a defining moment where Jan Opletal, a student of the Medical Faculty of the Charles University in Prague (Czech Republic), was killed in a demonstration against Nazist occupation of former Czechoslovakia.
But do you remember what happened in Norway in 2013 and 2014 that may have affected not just international students, but also internationalization of education in Norway?
The Norwegian Ministry of Education’s proposed to introduce tuition fees to international students from outside the EU and EEA. International Students’ Union of Norway (ISU Norway) took a particular exception to this development and called on all student organisations, partners and stakeholders to cooperate in discussing and highlighting the consequences this proposal would have had on Norwegian universities, Norwegian society and businesses, should it be implemented. After a big debate, lots of articles were written, politicians met, tons of tweets posted, but most importantly the proposal was withdrawn through the joint cooperation of all students in Norway and the support of Venstre and KrF (Norwegian parties supporting Norwegian government, but don´t form part of it).
Despite the fact that this was a very stressful moment for those who participated in the “#stoppskolepenger” (stop tuition fees) campaign, we learned and still emphasize on the importance of international students particularly the economic gains to both higher education institutions and the state economy at large. Moreover, international students bring skills, innovation and diversification to the programs and institutions where they study.
Today is a day to celebrate our future
Today 17th November marks the commemoration of the beginning of student movement back in 1939. It is in this spirit we harness the commitment of all students in Norway in their support to campaign against tuition fees, and shows the importance but also the need for a strong student movement in Norway to protect their rights.
But we can´t forget to highlight the challenges fellow students face in other countries across the globe. For instance, South African students’ campaign against raising of tuition fees or the lack of academic freedom in Zimbabwe just to mention a few examples. Together we must learn from our past to build a better future, including those moments as in 2013 and 2014 when we stood in solidarity against introduction of tuition fees. It’s clear we succeeded because we were united and shared a common vision that believed free education has far-reaching benefits for our future. In the same spirit we will continue fighting for free education, which gives equal opportunities to all, because this is an investment for our future in Norway, South Africa, Zimbabwe or everywhere else in the world!
Today we want to say Congratulations to all students on the 17th November! Today is our day to celebrate the opportunity to study, despite challenges we may face and that we will continue to work together for a free and a high quality of education!
Daniel Hernández Iniesta – National President
International Students’ Union of Norway (ISU Norway)
#FundOurFuture #ISUNORWAY #stoppskolepenger