Reacting to the release of Scholars at Risk’s annual report documenting and analysing attacks on higher education communities around the world, Education International firmly denounces attacks on academic freedom and reiterates the need to counter the lack of funds, precarious employment conditions and the privatisation and commercialisation of higher education.
“Attacks on higher education communities — regardless of their location, scale, or scope — hold consequences for societies everywhere,” says Robert Quinn, Scholars at Risk Executive Director. “In our increasingly interconnected world, these attacks erode an essential, global space where academics, students, and the public at large can come together to understand and solve the complex problems that are affecting us all.”
Scholars at Risk calls on states, higher education leaders and the public to respond to these attacks, to reject violence and coercion aimed at restricting inquiry and expression; to protect scholars, students, and universities; and to reaffirm publicly their commitment to academic freedom and the principles that critical discourse is not disloyalty and that ideas are not crimes.
Concerns shared at the higher education caucus during the 8th EI World Congress
“While the role of universities as public institutions is to serve the common good, they struggle for public funds and face an ever-increasing pressure by market forces, which has tremendous effects on academic freedom and on employment conditions,” stressed EI General Secretary David Edwards.
He also condemned the fact that “much of our students’ potential is wasted”, reiterating that “students are not just workers, they are citizens” and “education, research and the education profession are pillars of democracy” currently under serious threat globally.
Education International also calls on governments, member organisations and concerned citizens to take strong action to protect academic freedom across the world. The UNESCO 1997 recommendation concerning the Status of Higher-Education Teaching Personnel must be fully implemented.
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