Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Not a strike this time

For the third consecutive year, the academic year here will be disrupted. This time it's not a strike, but rather the administration locking the students out. The ultimate reason is, as before, cuts in the government funding which the universities need to run on (seeing as tuition is so ridiculously low).

Despite the difficulty this will cause for many people, I am inclined to sympathize with this move, as it really is an important cause. (In all honesty, it must be mentioned that I personally have no more classes to take and little desire to teach and grade them, so it works in my favor, but still.)

Here is a partial translation from the email I just received.

Unfortunately, under conditions created in light of negotiations with the Treasury Ministry, we will not be able to open this academic year.

The higher education system has suffered in the last eight years from budget cuts that do not permit its proper operation.

It is superfluous to name the difficult consequences stemming from the budget cuts and their influence on students' conditions: a decrease in courses offered, canceling of optional courses, crowded classrooms, shortage of faculty and coursework checkers - and these are only a few examples.

The higher education and research system is in a gradual decline. Neglect of higher education and particularly universities is a direct blow to the nation's strength which is founded on creation of knowledge and transfer of it to the next generation, encourages "brain drain" abroad and strangles the excellence that was built through the labor of many years....

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