Hundreds of Australian students and union members have held nationwide protests against the government’s proposed plans to cut higher education budget.
Student protesters descended on the streets of Sydney’s city center on Wednesday, setting fire to an effigy of Australian Education Minister Christopher Pyne as a sign of protest against the government’s proposed changes to higher education.
“We know higher education today is not the same as it was 20 years ago…. We know this budget is aggressive. We know it attacks the poor, the weak, the sick, the elderly students. We know it supports and empowers the rich and the powerful. And we know we are going to continue to fight…[against it] until we bust it,” said a protester.
Hundreds of demonstrators held similar protests on the streets of other major cities, including Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide.
The National Day of Action rallies were organized by the National Union of Students.
The so-called proposed reforms announced in May would allow universities to dictate the cost of degrees, following the same model adopted by the United States education system.
The protesters were particularly angry over a government proposal that lets universities set their own fees.
Students and union members are also protesting against the government’s proposals, including full deregulation of the higher education sector, a 20-percent cut to education funding and a rise in the interest rates of student loans.
Critics of the proposed model said it would leave students under the burden of crippling debts in future.
The students also denounced the recent government plans to slash healthcare and education budgets which are expected to have an impact on a large portion of the country’s population.
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