ZAGREB – The European Students’ Union (ESU) has launched a study on the perception of representatives of student unions, higher educational institutions and governments on the commodification of higher education.
A task force has been appointed to conduct the study and deliver the results in the form of a handbook in the upcoming summer. Following a successful seminar on commodification held in Zagreb, Croatia, in December 2013, the task force has been working on a work plan and questionnaire for the interviews of the study.
It has now been decided to do a case study on perceptions on commodification in Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Romania, Sweden and Switzerland. Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal and Spain may also be included in this study.
The study will focus on how commodification of higher education is viewed in different countries in Europe. It will in particular look into the policies that national unions of students have on commodification, public responsibility and financing of higher education. It will also investigate the policies of public authorities and universities.
Impact on students examined
This study will identify the practices that contribute to the commodification of higher education and what impact they have on different groups of students and their experiences. It will also examine the link between governance and commodification of higher education.
“We are entering a previously uncharted field of commodification in higher education. Our aim is to identify practices such as tuition fees, paid student services and for-profit university establishments, analyse national policies pertaining thereto and deliver a comprehensive guide on this increasingly visible phenomenon in higher education,” says Maros Korman, a member of ESU’s Executive Committee who is chairing the task force.
Along with Korman, Cat O’Driscoll (Union of Students in Ireland, USI), Christoffer Ivarsson (Sveriges Förenade Studentkårer, SFS), Dima Kortukov (National Union of Israeli Students, NUIS), Emmanuel Schweizer (Verband der Schweizerischen Studentinnenschaften, VSS-UNES-USU), Ester Drevenyak (Hallgatói Önkormányzatok Országos Konferenciája, HOOK), Jarmo Kallunki (Suomen Ylioppilaskuntien Liitto, SYL) and Lea Meister (Verband der Schweizerischen Studentinnenschaften, VSS-UNES-USU) have been appointed as members of the task force.
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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.