ESU: “Equality in higher education needs urgent attention”

BRUSSELS – The European Students’ Union (ESU) joins sides with the EURYDICE report on the Modernisation of Higher Education in Europe which says that the social dimension of higher education needs ‘urgent attention’. Allan Päll, ESU Chairperson, said: “Countries need to make more investments into widening access and increasing student success in higher education in order to make progress towards the 40% education attainment benchmark for 2020.” 

ESU has always been strongly advocating more focus on the social dimension in higher education policy. Päll: “ESU would like to see that words and promises from governments are translated into concrete measures, such as sufficient budgetary allocations.” The report, which was released on 16 September, now confirms that improved European wide monitoring and guidance is needed in order to have a clear policies for widening access fine tuned.
Great differences
The report highlights the great differences in European countries in delivering effective student support schemes. Päll: “Many countries are providing insufficient grants and loans, limiting support to a minority of students or basing their support package only on academic achievements.” Therefore ESU advocates that funding reforms in the future should especially emphasise the social dimension and improve student support schemes for all students.

Päll concluded: “We fear that the current cost-sharing trend where students are asked to contribute more each year and where student debt is reaching new records every day is deterring access to education for students with socially or economically disadvantaged backgrounds.” ESU strongly believes that in order to realise the vision of Europe 2020 of a smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, joint efforts on all levels are needed.

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Published: 19 September 2011

For more information, please contact:
Allan Päll, ESU Chairperson: +32/479.591.499 or allan@esu-online.org or Marianne Slegers, ESU Communications Manager: +32/473.669.894 or marianne@esu-online.org

Full ESU reaction to the report can be found here: http://www.esu-online.org/news/article/6065/540/
Full Eurydice report can be found here: http://eacea.ec.europa.eu/education/eurydice/thematic_studies_en.php