October 27, 2015 2:14:53 am
WHILE INDIA is forging a partnership with Africa at the official level during a summit in Delhi this week, another lesser known bond is being cemented between its students. The South African student movement #Feesmustfall has expressed its solidarity with the Occupy UGC protesters in the capital.
Described as South African education’s “Arab Spring” by some, the #Feesmustfall movement began at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg against rising tertiary tuition fees and prices of library books, journals, etc. The protests have since spread to campuses across South Africa, with three top universities being shut down and parliament proceedings disrupted.
In Delhi, the Occupy UGC protesters, led by the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union, have been protesting against the discontinuation of the non-NET fellowship, asking for its scope to be widened and amount increased.
In an online conversation with the Occupy UGC protesters on their event page #Feesmustfall, Saarah Jacobs, a student from University of Western Cape, wrote: “From South African students, to you. We fully support you! Viva! We shall continue to grow, united, we will stand tall.”
Ragmah Edwards, another student from South Africa, wrote: “They call us the Y generation and this week we’ve shown them Y! Love, support and hope to you all in India and May your fight be won too!”
The Occupy UGC protesters have also been getting support from students in Indian universities such as Allahabad University, Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), Panjab University and MDU University in Rohtak.
“We have to come here to protest, there is no choice. People like us from deprived backgrounds will be thrown out from research and our hopes extinguished if they start putting criteria for non-NET fellowship. This can’t be allowed,” said Yasir Arafat Turk, a research scholar from AMU, who participated in the UGC protest on Monday.
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