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Newsletter (in English)


Lack of information and unprepared schools forced school students to protest

On Friday, June 19, students went out into the streets of Prague to express their opinions about plans to establish centralized state-wide final exams. Their demonstration was coordinated vie popular social networks, i.e. Facebook. The demonstration started at 12:00 pm on Palacky square. 20 minutes before the beginning of the action the square was really full of students equipped with banners, flutes or ratchets. Those who stood near the statue were able to hear speeches from the organizers. The megaphones on hand were too weak to reach everyone in the crowd, so the others began spontaneously chanting slogans against the state finals.

Almost ten thousand demonstrators prepared to march after the speeches. The march went over the bridge across the Vltava river to Kampa Island, where a delegation of students met the minister of education Kopicová while the rest of the demonstrators had to wait in the park. Later, the march continued to the center of Prague at Wenceslas square. A lot of students left the march during this last stage. At the square the rest of the students ended the demonstration with spontaneous chanting.

But the Czech technocratic government hasn’t changed its opinion yet, so it seems that the state finals will begin as early as next year. Students were planning their next protest on July 16. Unfortunately Czech schools were out for summer already at this time and many students were not in town. Some of them also didn’t like the politicizing of their protests, so the second demo on Thursday, July 1, was quite small. The second protest was prganized by a group called Green Revolution, a youth organization of the Democratic Green Party. This üarty presents itself as a left-wing party and split from the Green Party in March 2009 as a consequence of the Czech Green Party’s right-wing tendencies.

The independent youth organization REVOLUTION (Red Revolution, as people called us on the demo to distinguish us from the second group, Green Revolution) distributed their own leaflets during the action. We were the only independent left-wing group at the demo and managed to distribute all of our 2,500 small leaflets. This is the text of our leaflet distributed at the demonstration:

We are not laboratory rats!
The independent youth organization REVOLUTION supports the postponement of the state finals

In secondary schools, nervousness rules among students and teachers. Those of us who have already graduated can rejoice. All others need to prepare themselves for the fear of a large unknown. The original idea of comparable finals may not be bad, but this experiment called the state final, threatens to end in disaster. There is a widespread ignorance and unpreparedness concerning the new finals among students and teachers as well as among the public. There has benn an increasing concern in regard to the regularity of the tests. Not all schools are adequately equipped with study materials. Revo therefore calls on the government to postpone the introduction of state finals!

We don’t usually have mass participation of people in public protests in the Czech Republic, but fighting for our interests is a fundamental right each of us has. Unexpectedly high attendance at a demonstration against the state finals succeeded two years ago, when the state government was compelled to postpone the finals. The fight today is more difficult, but we can win. A couple of days ago the Czech ministers decided that the state finals will not be postponed. On the same day, June 17th, almost 250,000 students went out into the streets in Germany! They protested against the ongoing deterioration of the conditions in the German educational system. In addition to the demonstrations they also prepared specific action in individual schools. This should also be our way of action.

The repeal or the postponement of the state finals must not be the end of our fight for better education. The state spent billions for purchasing new weapons for the army and paid for such nonsense as the preparation of the Olympic Games in Prague. Money for schools and better teacher salaries is still needed. Low salaries lead to the departure of the best teachers from the educational system. Teaching in overcrowded classrooms is often poor, boring, and focused only on remembering facts. We require that education become a real priority with sufficient funds! In addition to the quality of education, its availability may be compromised in the near future as well. The right-wing parties want to introduce tuition fees at universities. Such measures would deprive students less privileged backgrounds a college education. Revo and all of us here today refuse to allow the right to an education to be divided along class lines! Revo is always against additional education fees and against political parties that want to promote them.

Revo is part of the international leftist organization Revolution involving young people throughout Europe. We participate in the antiwar movement and campaigns against fascism and racism. We are also active members of the initiative NO BASES refusing U.S. military bases in Brdy Hills. If you are interested in participating in the campaigns against fascism, racism, wars and exploitation, please contact us!

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