Copenhagen, Denmark, June 23rd 2012
Here in the Nordic countries, universal access to free education is a no-brainer. Why? Because we know that education is the ultimate investment in the future. In Denmark, Norway and Sweden, in addition to not having any tuition fees, all students receive a monthly grant to cover some of their living expenses. This obviously results in high taxes, but free education reduces social inequality, and benefits both the individual and society in the long run. An educated population equals a strong, stable state, ready for the future – simple as that.
Although the struggle in Quebec has received alarmlingly little media coverage here in the Nordic countries, it has still been possible for us to follow the impressive student movement with great interest, via Facebook and international media.
The students of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, as represented by their respective student unions, are amazed and humbled by the dedication and persistance of the Quebecois students. We cherish our educational systems, but they too are under constant political pressure, and education may not remain free for us in the future.
Yesterday, on June 22nd, there were protests all over Canada and the World in support of the Quebec student movement. To show our full support, students and other supporters gathered in front of the Canadian embassy in Copenhagen, and delivered a declaration of support from the Nordic student unions to representatives from the embassy.
The tuition fee hike in Quebec is not an isolated problem, but part of a global educational crisis, against which we must stand together to stop.
By Gwen Gruner-Widding (member of DSF) and Ronja Mannov Olesen
Danske Studerendes Fællesråd
Sveriges Förenade Studentkårer
(the student unions of Denmark, Norway and Sweden)