On Thursday between 2:00pm and 4:00pm, a hundred people demonstrated outside the office of Jean-Claude Marcourt, Minister of Higher Education for the Wallonia-Brussels Federation. The protest was organised by FEF (Federation of French-speaking students) to remind the government of its commitment to refinance higher education. The FEF is worried by the possibility of spending cuts within the Wallonia-Brussels Federation. Over the past 20 years, due to a set budget and savings measures already implemented by past years’ budgets, huge restrictions have been required to manage a ever-increasing number of students. Students warn that unless they get a clear commitment from the government, the protests will continue after Easter.
The participants of a meeting held at ULB (Free University of Brussels) also joined the protest at the end of the meeting. The BEA (Bureau of student directors) also supports the protest and intends to publish a manifesto detailing its demands. “The ultimate goal is to gain the support of a majority of students”, says student director Robin Van Leeckwyck.
“Students are calling for the government to refinance both compulsory and higher education to cover its budgetary needs. They also oppose any cuts in education funding and any increase in school fees that may be a result of the refinancing. They also want to establish a movement that will group together all sectors of education (student, staff, teacher …).”
Participants in the Student Assembly want to support public sector workers during the April 22nd strike.