Students ask Bologna ministers to put more money on the table

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BUCHAREST - The European Students’ Union (ESU) believes that the Bologna Ministerial Conference on 26 and 27 April in Bucharest is a great opportunity to revitalise the ongoing standstill of the Bologna Process by investing the highest possible level of public money in higher education.

The lack of progress is evident from several reports including ESU’s own analysis of the Bologna Process: ‘Bologna With Student Eyes 2012’. Allan Päll, ESU Chair said: "It is absolutely necessary that increases in real terms in the funding for higher education are secured to match the Bologna ambitions.”

ESU, the umbrella organisation for 47 national unions from 38 countries in Europe adopted a Statement towards the Bologna meeting, at its Board Meeting in Bucharest on 23 April. The Bologna Ministerial meeting gathers 47 ministers from the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) to discuss the progress, or lack thereof, of the implementation of the Bologna Process.

ESU participates in the meeting as consultative member and will hand out the ‘Bologna With Student Eyes 2012’ publication to the ministerial delegations. Main conclusion of this publication is that ever since 2009, the Bologna Process has been sliding backwards in some key action lines.

The 'Bologna With Student Eyes 2012' furthermore concludes that student unions report that the budget cuts for higher education are far worse than anticipated by the European Universities Association (EUA) revealing a reality gap at the side of the universities.

Päll continued: If European governments do not stop the cutting of the higher education budgets and do not put a halt to rising tuition fees, long-term growth of economies will be impossible, yet this is exactly what is crucially important at this time."

The Bologna Process was established in 1999 with the aim to harmonise the EHEA while making student and academic staff exchanges easier. Päll concluded: “If even in the context of austerity, ministers for higher education do not dare to fight for increased public budgets for higher education, no other minister will."

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For more information, please contact:

Allan Päll, ESU Chairperson: +32 479591499 // allan@esu-online.org

Marianne Slegers, ESU Communications Manager: +32/473.669.894 // marianne@esu-online.org