Colombian students stage protest over university funding dispute

Conversations between regional government and student body fail to lift Pamplona strike

October 23, 2017
Map of Republic of Colombia
Source: iStock

A mass demonstration at the Universidad de Pamplona, Colombia, has reached its third week, with students occupying the main campus in protest over a lack of transparency surrounding funding.

Changes to the way that the government has allocated university funding is a sore topic across Colombia, but students at Pamplona demand that the financial situation of their institution is made public. Calls have also been made for improved resources and quality of learning amid high unemployment rates for graduates.

The complaints also include criticisms of the Ser Pilo Paga programme, which provides scholarships and career support for gifted students from low-income families.

Since 26 September, thousands of students at the university have staged protests, marches, bonfires and debates. William Villamizar, governor for the Norte de Santander region, failed to reach a solution, and the university remained closed as part of indefinite strike action.

Failed attempts by staff members to return to work have led to suggestions that the semester should be postponed for the 25,400 students affected.

rachael.pells@timeshighereducation.com

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