This volume is devoted to an analysis of the role of students in politics and higher education, with particular emphasis on the emerging nations. It is designed to focus academic interest on this subject by presenting articles which attempt to provide some analytical coherence to extant research in the field, as well as report on some recent findings. It is hoped that this book will stimulate further thought and empirical research in an area which has assumed substantial importance.
Social science research has long taken an interest in education. Studies of teachers, educational administration and finances, and government- school relations are an established part of the literature. Yet, relatively little attention has been paid to the role of the student as a dynamic force in educational and political change. (Students have, of course, been studied frequently as subjects by social psychologists.) Students themselves have remedied this situation by dramatically pointing out their important role. Student political activity, particularly, has reached the headlines during the past decade and has focused the attention not only of government officials but of social scientists as well.
It is hardly necessary to document the importance of student organizations and movements in recent years. In the developing areas, a number of governments have been shaken or toppled by student agitation. Student movements in South Korea, Turkey, South Vietnam, Indonesia, Bolivia, Venezuela, and other nations have played a leading role in overturning governments. In Japan, the militant Zengakuren captured world headlines in its successful campaign to force the resignation of the Kishi government in 1960. In Burma, the Ivory Coast, Bolivia, Brazil, Poland, the Soviet Union, China, and many other countries governmental authorities have taken strong action to limit the scope of student political opposition. Student action has also had effects, both positive and negative, on the educational process. In India, the much discussed problem of "student indiscipline" has caused the interruption of university life on many campuses and has become a major headache for a beleaguered government. Students in Nigeria, Argentina, and other countries have agitated about academic issues and often have achieved their ends.