Sri Lankan University students regularly protest and the police regularly beat them up. This is so regular than most people here have forgotten the underlying issues and think that students do nothing but protest. I don’t agree with most of the solutions the students call for (restricting privatization, guaranteeing government jobs), but I do agree with the grievance. The education system is a social contract we have with our youth. Work hard, go to uni, you’ll get a job. This is not necessarily a guarantee, but it should at least be a probability. In Sri Lanka university graduates actually have a higher unemployment rate than people that don’t get a higher education. So something is deeply, deeply wrong. The social contract has been broken, and I understand why they’re occupying the Ministry of Higher Education. For more on what this contract is and why it matters, have a look at this awesomely illustrated talk by Sir Ken Robinson.
When we went to school, we were kept there with a story, which is if you worked hard and did well and got a college degree, you would get a job. Our kids don’t believe that. And they’re right not to by the way.