“It’s not even October 2 yet and the university students are already in the streets,” said a construction worker as he watched thousands of demonstrators from the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) stream into the major thoroughfares of Mexico’s capital city on Thursday.
Up to 8,000 students from all major IPN campuses were out to reject policies that eliminate scientific subjects and allow private business and industry to use school facilities for their own aims.
As well as increased powers to the university authorities, the students oppose the imposition of obligatory fees for activities that have always been free of charge, such as workshops and sports.
Demonstrators also believe the changes will result in low-quality, “technified” education, instead of scientific education that promotes critical thinking.
That neither students nor teachers were taken into consideration in drawing up the new regulations and curricula have caused further consternation.
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Speakers at the march called for a student strike to begin on September 30, a proposal that was overwhelmingly accepted by the students.
At the same time, assemblies and marches are being held on most of the major campuses to defeat the plans for privatized education.
Likewise planning is under way for the march held every October 2 to commemorate the 1968 Tlatelolco Massacre of students and other civilians.