50 Years of Student Activism- “Past and Present”

Student activism has always been a way for the students to make a difference in their society. If we look back in the history of the past 50 years, it is quite evident that the student activism had played a major role almost in every revolution which has brought significant changes in different societies of the world. In the year, 1968 a lot changed thanks to student activism. Back in that time period, many governments were forced to change their policies for the welfare of their societies. Students raised their voices for social injustice and inequalities which were poisoning the future of their nation. The situations and the cases for the present activism are different, but the cause is the same, and that is ‘ The change for a better future’. 1968 signifies the year where a lot happened regarding racism. Societies tried to discriminate people by their race and color of the skin, tried to impose policies and laws which were unjust and a threat to democracy. Although most of those movements by the student activists were peaceful and nonviolent, there were some governments who forced the students to be violent by their oppression. Not only that, the student activism in several countries, played a vital role in preventing civil war among their people. An incident to mention In particular is; just after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., there was a rising civil war situation in Columbia, which was being mitigated by the efforts of some brave voices among the students. Thanks to the students, people were able to avoid the disasters of outrageous civil war, which might have destroyed the lives of countless civilians. Another incident was in France. In May 1968 France was on the verge of civil war. But, thanks to students nonviolent effort and thoughtful protests the country was able to get a peaceful solution, which later revolutionized their art and culture. This cultural revolution has made France one of the most culturally enriched nations of the world. Thanks to the sacrifice and commitment of those students activists, the world has now become more humane and peaceful. After 1968, the world has seen many changes and different forms of student activism. Although, since that year the student activism has become more modernized thanks to the internet revolution, still the motivation for the activism has remained the same, or it can be said that the form and circumstances have changed a bit, but the soul has remained the same. Some might wonder if there is any valid truth in this statement? Is it true that even in this modernized world, people still think the way they used to think 50 years ago? Well, in that case, let us peek into the modern perspectives for various student activism all around the world.

Recently one issue which is quite common among the student activists is they are concerned about the increasing tuition fees. And if one can see the recent newsfeeds, it is quite evident that a great majority of the students are dropping out because of high tuition fees in schools. According to a study “ECONOMIC EFFECTS OF STUDENTS’ DROPOUTS – A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF THE CAUSES OF STUDENTS’ DROPOUTS GLOBALLY” conducted in 2015, “Financially weak students have high possibility to drop out.”  In that same study, there was another finding, where ‘the high costs of the institutes’ was also considered as one of the dominating factors for study dropouts. Moreover, there were some incidents in the last 2 years where students protested to reduce the tuition fees for graduate schools as the higher tuition fees were catalyzing the knowledge inequality among the students of different race and from lower socioeconomic status. Education is one of the major human rights and imposing higher tuition fees passively violates this human right of the students from low-income families. These protests for conserving one of the basic human rights were being led by active student activists, and thanks to their activism they were able to achieve success in their efforts. These new generation activists fought for the change. The change which gave students the new hope to continue their journey in the vast sea of knowledge, by forgetting the differences in their race and status. So, it is quite evident that there is a certain correlation between the student activism which happened 50 years back and the student activism which is happening at present.

Students are the future of a nation. They have the sacred duty to help their country to move forward and to a better future. Student activism is the mediator which helps them carry out this sacred duty. It was true in the past and it is true for the present, and evidently for the future.