International Students Day- November 17
Students, throughout history, have been at the forefront of the struggle for freedom, democracy, peace and justice, and against domination, exploitation, racism and exclusion. In 1941, during the darkest days of the 2nd World War, representatives of students and student organizations met in London to coordinate their struggle against fascism. That meeting resulted in the creation of the International Students’ Council that declared November 17 as International Students’ Day.
It was on November 17, 1939 that the Nazi occupation authorities in then Czechoslovakia closed down all high schools and executed or imprisoned students and professors as a reprisal against Czechoslovak anti-fascist student demonstrations. Immediately after the war, the International Students’ Council decided to set up an international preparatory committee to establish a World Students’ Union. That preparatory committee met in Prague on international students’ day in 1945 and decided to convene an International Students’ Congress in August 1946 in Prague. The congress thus convened was attended by representatives of 43 student organizations in 39 countries. By a unanimous decision, the International Union of Students (IUS) was established.
As we are marking the Day, most of the achievements, attained by students from tough struggle, have been reversed notably accessibility and affordability of education. The democratization of education has suffered serious backlash in recent years because only the rich can afford it while the downtrodden majority of the people are left out of the hook. Education being the cornerstone of any meaningful development, it is imperative that in Africa, it is accessible to all and sundry in order to ensure that the continent be put on sustainable development sphere.
Current developments in the World notably the increasing unjust international economic relations, the insurgence of terrorism and the degradation of our social fabrics necessitate on the part of all democrats peace loving people to arise and unite to arrest further downing of the situation. In these efforts the International Students’ Movement has a crucial role to play. It is a must for the students around the World to unite, mobilize and organize themselves in order to be able to contribute effectively and efficiently their quota in the global tasks to save the world form any disaster.
On this occasion AASU-Secretariat is organizing, at its Headquarters, a round table discussion on the topic “Developing Global Students Partnership”. The participants from local international student leaders will share experiences and ideas on the issues of education and student activism.
AASU calls on its member and friendly organizations to use this opportunity to embark on awareness creation activities amongst their members and the general public on the importance of education and the need for students to continue to be the mouthpiece of their people against injustice, corruption, racism, and for democracy, peace and justice.