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      Education is a Right!
      BC Highschool Students Organize Rally
      Against Cuts to Public Education

      By Thomas Davies

      Despite an incredible rainfall which dumped as much rain in one day as the previous two months combined, over 100 students, teachers, parents and concerned community members joined a rally and march in downtown Vancouver to demand the BC Liberal government respect public education and address the growing education crisis.

      The rally was organized by the BC Student Alliance, a highschool student-led organization. It featured an entirely highschool student line-up of speakers who addressed the many negative effects of an underfunded provincial education system. They also connected the fight for public education to global social justice issues such as climate change and racism.

      In the rally announcement the students were very clear in their vision for public education, “The 1976 UN Covenant of Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights deemed Education a fundamental human right. Yet, in BC, our education system has been seriously neglected by the provincial government. We see that students in BC are suffering, from early childhood education, all the way through to post-secondary.

      There have been school closures, overcrowded classrooms and a lack of support for children with special needs. The BC Liberal government promised to reduce class- size and class-composition issues quite some time ago; but students are still waiting for support that they desperately need.”

      Since 2002, BC has lost the equivalent of 3,500 full- time teachers and according to the BC Teachers Federation the province underfunds every student in BC by $1000 below the national average.

      BC Students aren’t the only ones fighting back against cuts to public education. As governments around the world continue to prioritize wars, occupations and ensuring corporate profits at the expense of basic public services such as healthcare and education, students around have taken to the streets to demand their rights. In 2012, sustained massive protests of hundreds of thousands of Quebec students against an attempt to hike tuition fees were successful in winning a provincial tuition freeze. Students around the world continue to be engaged in similar battles as they are forced to defend their education and their futures against increasing government cuts.

      The good news is that students continue to be willing to organize to defend their rights, and these protests are often connected to broader coalitions of teachers, trade unions and social justice organizations all fighting against government austerity programs. We all need to join students and teachers in defending public education as a basic human right.

      Stop Cuts to Education Now!

      Education is a Right!

      Money For Healthcare and Education,
      Not for War and Occupation!

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