VRUTKY – Two generations of ESU elected representatives got together at Vrutky, Slovakia to outline aims and objectives for action from 22 to 25 June. The meeting has been hosted by SRVS, ESU’s Slovakian member.
After ESU’s Board has adopted a new structure for the ESU governance and management in November 2011, preparations for putting it in place started to take place. In April 2012 an “experimental” team has been elected and currently includes 10 Executive Committee (EC) members, including thw so-called Presidency – Chair and two Vice-Chairs, permanently based in Brussels. To support its activities, the ESU EC relies on a professional Brussels-based Secretariat, 3 coordinators for equality, membership and student rights affairs and expert pools.
The new structure has been introduced to render ESU’s political capacity in order to advocate for equal right to quality education. It is important that ESU is able to mobilise students all around Europe to warn governments that cutting down on budgets in areas that are essential for economic growth, such as education and training, will lock Europe into a long-lasting recession and will lead to more social unrest.
After heated discussions on why ESU believes in education as a public good and what kind of educational outcomes ESU strives for, strategic objectives for the next three years have been set. Amongst others, ESU plans to engage in negotiations to exempt spending on education from deficit areas under the fiscal compact and influence the agenda for the upcoming European Parliament elections.
Influencing policy-making comes along with supervising the implementation. Widening access to education for underrepresented groups still remains nothing but a promise and has to be turned into action both within Bologna and EU inspired reforms. A full 3-year ESU’s strategic framework will be further discussed with the members of ESU and will be brought to a vote at the 63rd ESU Board meeting in Malta, in December 2012.
A strong team
No great objectives can be achieved without having a strong team. ESU’s elected representatives come from diverse cultural backgrounds, therefore communication does not always go smoothly, if those differences are not recognised. During the meeting in Slovakia there have been plenty of opportunities to get to know each other better – playing board games, taking a float on river and exploring the surroundings of a castle.
Evening discussions had a broad variety of topics as well – for instance: how do we reach out to our members, is the gender dimension fully implemented in ESU? To conclude, after a successful handover weekend, the new ESU team is ready to strike and put words into action.