Social dimension working group starts new mandate with students’ power

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Free education ESU has been endorsed to co-chair the group.

BRUSSELS – The European Students’ Union (ESU) has been endorsed to co-chair the Social Dimension Working Group together with Ireland following a decision taken at a meeting of the Bologna Follow-up Group (BFUG) in Cyprus in August. Brian Power (Ireland) and Karina Ufert (ESU), acting co-chairs, summoned the first meeting of the working group on 13 December in Brussels. The main idea behind it was to discuss and agree on the future working agenda for 2013 to 2015.

Before discussing specific actions and objectives for the next three years, the participants got a thorough update about latest developments in the BFUG and its other working groups. They also received some valuable information from the European Commission. Brian Power presented the priorities of the Irish Presidency to the EU Council in 2013 for education and training. Among the anticipated outcomes of the Presidency are conclusions on the Social dimension for higher education.

Within the Bologna process, the social dimension is usually seen a multifaceted concept, emphasising the importance of higher education systems being able to reflect the diversity of Europe’s population. Despite being a key action line, there are significant differences in the level of implementation of the social dimension across the European Higher Education Area. There are two concrete tools that the Bologna framework has to accelerate in order to enhance the social dimension at a national and institutional level. One concerns drafting policy conclusions for the Ministerial conference to be held in Yerevan in 2015. Another is enhancing information flows about policy developments in different countries, promoting peer learning processes between policy-makers and practitioners on different levels. “We are lucky enough to have a project to accommodate those expectations, called Peer Learning for Social Dimension (PL4SD), where ESU is one of the partners,” says Karina Ufert, ESU’s Chairperson.

The final terms of reference and an action plan, taking into account comments from the working group, will be adopted at BFUG meeting in March 2013. The general feeling of the group is that we need to progress in the area in the upcoming three years, building on the previous work of BFUG and other expert organisations,” Ufert comments.

You can read more about the PL4SD project and others that ESU contributes to in a separate article here.

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For more information, please contact:

Karina Ufert, ESU Chairperson: +32/473.669.892 // karina@esu-online.org or Robert Hlynur Baldursson, ESU Communications Manager: +32/473.669.894 // robert@esu-online.org

The European Students’ Union, headquartered in Brussels, is the umbrella organisation of 47 national unions of students from 39 European countries. ESU represents and promotes the educational, social, economical and cultural interests of students at the European level. Through its member unions, ESU represents over 11 million students in Europe. To find out more about ESU, follow us on Twitter @ESUtwt, check out or Facebook page or visit www.esu-online.org. ESU celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2012.