Ministry to seek solutions to students’ grievances

Madagascar's ministry of higher education is to focus closely on trying to find solutions to student grievances at the École Supérieure Polytechnique d’Antananarivo, or ESPA, in Vontovorona, which have led to strikes, violent demonstrations and the arrest of four students.

Students started striking at the end of February, protesting against dilapidated buildings, steeply increased fees and housing charges, and non-payment of their grants, Midi Madagasikara reported.

When journalists went to ESPA to investigate the strike and its causes, the situation turned violent and students pelted them with stones accompanied by insults and intimidation, Midi Madagasikara reported. A journalist was wounded, and a student was seriously injured in the face during confrontations with police, said the paper.

During the violence four students were arrested, Midi Madagasikara said. They were still in custody at the beginning of March, waiting to appear in court.

The students’ complaints about the dilapidated buildings were supported by an association of engineers and graduates of ESPA, according to Midi Madagasikara. At a meeting at the end of February they called for a review of all ESPs in the country in order to renovate and improve their infrastructure.

On the same day, the government agreed the ministry of higher education and scientific research would focus closely on seeking solutions to the students’ demonstrations, and how their demands could be met, Midi Madagasikara said.

Ministers appealed for peaceful dialogue to find durable and pragmatic resolutions to the current crisis which was marked by tension and growing violence, reported Midi Madagasikara. – Compiled by Jane Marshall

This article is drawn from local media.
University World News cannot vouch for the accuracy of the original reports.