TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Students from multiple universities in China’s Jiangsu Province have been protesting a new government education plan over the past few days, resulting in intense clashes with police.
Students in the coastal province have been protesting a mandate requiring certain universities' colleges to merge with vocational schools to form “vocational and technical universities," which will downgrade their bachelor of arts or science degrees to "professional bachelor's degrees" and affect their future job prospects, Stand News reported.
A number of videos have been shared online showing people demonstrating on university campuses. At Nanjing Normal University, students waved banners that read "I reject my job title, give me my undergraduate courses back," and created a field of lights with their cell phones as police formed a human wall.
Some students were forcibly carried away by police or beaten for remaining seated on the ground. Netizens have begun to criticize the police for excessive violence.
The protest was one of many across campuses in other Chinese provinces expressing discontent towards the new policy, including at Zhijiang College of Zhejiang University of Technology and Zhejiang University of Finance and Economics' Dongfang College.
In May of last year, the General Office of the Ministry of Education issued a plan to accelerate the transition of independent colleges into vocational schools and proposed that all universities formulate a transformation plan by the end of 2020. It also promoted a group of colleges that had already completed the transition as models for other institutions to follow.