european students’ union

ESU: Create EU support structure to help increase higher education participation

November 19, 2010

Following the Education, Youth, Culture and Sports (EYCS) Council meeting on November 18-19, ESU reiterates its request that the European Union develop a structure to support higher participation rates in higher education in Europe.

“More specifically, the European Commission should develop an overview of which actions and working methods will support the 40 % higher education attainment target ,” said Magnus Malnes (pictured below), a member of ESU’s Academic Affairs Committee.

The EYCS council held a policy debate on social inequalities in education, which ESU hopes is a step in the direction of strengthening the social dimension of higher education.

“This is timely, as the quality of and access to higher education has been seriously put at risk through cutbacks in public financing of higher education in a number European countries in the last year. We have seen deplorable consequences such as increased tuition fees or plans of increasing fees, and changing from grants to loan systems. This will result in increased student and graduate debt and will further restrict the access to higher education. The EYCS-council should discuss how to reverse this trend,” said Malnes.

The Council also said that “Actions need to be closely coordinated, with the involvement and cooperation of the relevant stakeholders at every level, including through the structured dialogue.”

Malnes said ESU also expects to see national unions of students fully included in the discussions on national reform programmes and actions.

“So far this has been very limited and is threatening to undermine the trustworthiness of the entire strategy. We invite the Commission to include European education stakeholders more directly in drawing up new policies and programmes,” said Malnes.
See also:
The full EYCS Council conclusions on Youth on the Move initiative

ESU Statement on EU programmes and initiatives from ESU’s Board Meeting on November 3-5

Photo (top) by the Council of the European Union: Androulla Vassiliou, EU Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, Pascal Smet, Flemish education minister

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