By Loubna Flah
By Loubna Flah
Morocco World News
Casablanca, May 25, 2012
Foreign students took to the streets on Tuesday in Madrid in demonstrations organized by trade unions to denounce cuts to the education which were implemented as part of the austerity measures being implemented by the Spanish government’s austerity measures. The Platform for the Defense of Foreign Students (PDOS), which encompasses students from countries outside the European Union, particularly students from Morocco, took part in the demonstrations.
Tuition fees for foreign students are expected to rise considerably for the forthcoming academic year. The new measure approved by the Spanish government requires foreign students to pay the total amount of tuition fees. As a result of this measure, many non-European students would not be able to afford their tuition fees. The annual tuition fees vary from 6000 to 9000 euros depending on the discipline and the type of studies.
In this regard, in a communique MWN received from the PDOS, its representatives assert that they “are mobilized today to protest against this discriminatory policy which constitutes a real breach on our constitutional rights. More specifically the article 14 that grants all citizens equal access to education”.
On the other hand, Moroccan students called on the Moroccan government to intervene to sort out this problem that has a severe effect on thousands of Moroccan students in Spain, bearing in mind that a large segment of these students graduated from Spanish educational institutions based in Morocco.
The student representatives are apprehensive at the prospect of their being forced to give up their studies and to go back to their country. In addition, many students who are currently pursuing their studies in Spanish institutions in Morocco, particularly in Tangiers, Tetouan, Rabat, Casablanca and Nador may reconsider future plans to pursue their studies in Spain.
Moroccan students in Spain are waiting for the official publication of tuition fees expected in June. They stand adamantly against the decree RDL April/2012 and call for an equal treatment among the students’ community without any kind of discrimination or categorization in the access to public education.
The students assert that, although they are not Spanish citizens, they pay taxes and contribute to the stimulation of the local market. “We pay the rent and other expenses, yet we do not have access to social services,” said one of the protesters.
“We won’t stop the protest for our rights. We will join forces to protest before all the institutions in Spain, Europe and in Morocco,” he added.
The protesters solemnly declared: “we are fully aware of the current crisis in Spain. Yet this should by no mean be used as a pretext to deny us basic rights like education or to grant legitimate grounds to discriminatory practices.”