GUINEA: Students demonstrate in interior

Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Tensions continue to run high in Guinea with some 3,000 students taking to the streets on Monday in the town of Labe, 600 km north east of the capital Conakry, which saw violent clashes between protesters and police during several weeks of anti-government riots earlier this year.

“We are the forgotten people of the republic,” said Amamdou Toure, a protesting student from the University of Labe. “This place does not have what it needs to make it a normal university.”

The demonstrations mostly took place around the university where students have been on strike since 22 March, according to university authorities and students contacted by telephone.

The students said they were protesting the shoddy state of their campus and the lack of investment in the education system. Guinea’s universities, like most public institutions in Guinea have suffered from years of neglect. With a lack of teaching staff, class sizes are sometimes in the hundreds.

Motivation is low as many students say they believe it is under the table cash not hard work or intellect that wins them high marks. And once students have completed their education, few are likely to find meaningful work afterwards.

Observers say it is chronic problems such as these which have pushed many people to participate in unprecedented anti-government demonstrations over the last year.
Author: CONAKRY, 27 March 2007
Source: IRIN
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