european students’ union

Plan of Work (January-June 2021)

May 20, 2019

ESU adopted its Plan of Work (January-June 2021) during the online 79th Board meeting.

ESU will continue to concentrate on executing advocacy with a clear strategy and goals further explained in this document and policy documents. You can download the full Plan of Work here.

Social Dimension

BFUG Advisory Group
ESU will work to ensure that the Social Dimension remains a priority for the working period 2020-2023. and especially will focus on the monitoring of implementation of the Principles & Guidelines (PAGs). For the sake of continuity, ESU will propose the setup of another Advisory Group which will aim to: (a) developing a system of monitoring of the Principles and Guidelines and (b) defining indicators and benchmarks for the principles for SD. ESU will also work on introducing thematic country reviews on social dimension within the EHEA.

Code of Conduct
ESU will continue work with the updated Code of Conduct, reviewing internal documents to bring them in line with it, as well as developing strategies, policies, and practices required by the updated CoC.

Students’ Rights’ Charter

The current Students Rights Charter was adopted in 2008. It is therefore crucial that the document is updated now as the COVID-19 sharpens the need to stand for the students rights. The work on the Students Rights charter will be done in collaboration with the Task Force on Creation of New Policy.

Inclusion of Marginalised, Disadvantaged and Vulnerable groups

ESU will continue supporting its membership in taking solidarity action and to advocate on governments and HEIs to support the rights and needs of students and groups in society, who, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, have been excluded from pursuing education. In particular, ESU will continue to enhance its advocacy efforts to reduce the barriers for people with refugee backgrounds to access, participate and complete higher education and to promote inclusion in society. ESU will also continue to raise awareness about students’ mental health, monitor the state of mental health and services available to students, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Quality Assurance

Sustainable development of the QA pool

As the COVID-19 has impacted the way QA reviews are normally carried forward, ESU will work on online capacity building activities for the QA pool members. ESU will improve the solidarity fee structure and plan activities of re-investing some of the funds into the development of the QA pool Steering Committee and the members. 

Digitalization in education

In order to enhance the advocacy for student-centered blended and virtual learning and teaching in the COVID19 affected world, ESU will compile an overview of publications about the use of digital tools for student-centered innovative pedagogies. ESU will advocate for a social dimension perspective on blended and digital education to be included in student support schemes of the governments and HEIs.

BFUG Advisory Group on L&T

ESU will ensure that during the 2020-2023 cycle of the BFUG the Advisory Group on Learning and Teaching prioritizes peer learning and capacity building actions that focus on the implementation of the Recommendations on L&T as adopted at the Rome Ministerial (online) 2020. ESU will advocate for developing criteria on L&T implementation to be later integrated into the Implementation Report. 

European University Alliances

ESU will lobby for and coordinate funded activities from the European level in support to development and capacity building of student representative bodies inside the European University Alliances. ESU will research the emergence and development of these cross-national student bodies and ensure a strong cooperation.

EEA and Digitalisation

ESU will closely follow and be actively involved in the European level policy and practice discussions on microcredentials. ESU will develop a statement on microcredentials setting the boundaries that this programme should have within the EHEA and the EEA. ESU will actively lobby the European Commission, the European Council and the European Parliament – most importantly the members of the CULT committee, for its positions related to the European Education Area and participate in consultations related to EEA at large as well as to digital education, innovation and research policy.

Internationalization and Mobility

Sustainable and inclusive Mobility in post-pandemic Europe

ESU will advocate towards making the Erasmus+ programme more environmentally and socially sustainable, and accessible to all groups of learners in Europe. ESU will pay specific attention to the conditions under which physical student mobility will be restored once health experts consider it safe to do so and will monitor closely developments and the quality linked to internationalization from home. In addition, ESU is actively involved in the development of internationalization at home and ensures that it is developed in a way that makes internationalization more inclusive and increases the accessibility of international competencies.

Internationalization from home 

ESU will actively involve itself in the discourse circling around internationalisation at home and so-called “virtual mobility” and advocate towards decision makers to consider it as a bridging tool and add-on to physical mobility instead of a discount replacement to reach mobility quotas. 

International students and post-Brexit Erasmus+

ESU will advocate against rising tuition fees and other discriminatory barriers on international students. It will furthermore lobby towards a solution that allows the association of the UK and the reassociation of Switzerland to the Erasmus+ programme. 

Brain drain

ESU will start exploring the topic of brain drain and brainstorm measures in support of more balanced brain circulation within Europe. The focus should be on countries most affected by the phenomenon and those regions with fewer HEIs, less opportunities for students and educational structures that do not provide adequate support to students.

Global engagement and solidarity 

ESU will continue its efforts to build and foster global partnerships with international student’s organizations such as the members of the Global Student Forum (GSF) and GSF itself as well as other organisations that share the same set of values.

Public Responsibility 

Sustainability, Climate Action and SDGs 

ESU will mainstream sustainability, and the fight against the climate crisis, in its work across clusters. Concrete action includes active contribution to the Generation Climate Europe coalition, taking up projects linking education quality to sustainability, campaigning for education institutions to take more responsibility for sustainability according to the recommendations defined in ESU’s statement on sustainability, capacity building with member unions through workshops and seminars with external expert, and making ESUs own organisational practices more sustainable by presenting a self-assessment report according to the responsibility of ESU as outlined in the statement on sustainability.

Fundamental Values 

  • ESU will continue to advocate towards clearly defined fundamental values such as academic freedom, academic integrity, institutional autonomy and students’ participation within the framework of the European Higher Education Area/Bologna process and specifically the taskforce for future monitoring of values. 
  • During the upcoming BFUG meetings ESU will advocate for a stronger focus on Belarus. Aligning the points with BSA and BOSS, ESU will bring forward in BFUG discussion topics related to the implementation of fundamental values of EHEA in Belarus. 

Academic Integrity
ESU will build on the work that has been conducted in the framework of the ET2020 working group on HE and the European Network for Academic Integrity with the aim of further mainstreaming academic integrity and a student centred approach to it. ESU should take an active position in tackling the issue of contract cheating and work on improving the overall ethical behaviour in Higher Education Institutions.

Organisational Development and Capacity Building

The needs of ESU’s membership

ESU will conduct a survey and focus discussions on the needs of the membership (including associates) and will reflect those accordingly in the next Strategic Priorities. ESU will refresh its buddy system and the regular communication with the board members. 

ESU will also continue being represented in the following boards:

Organisation Since Until
Magna Charta Observatory 2018 2021
EQAR Executive Board June 2020 May 2022
EQAR Register Committee June 2019 June 2021
European Youth Forum July 2018 ongoing
CDPPE sub-group on higher education policy 2018 ongoing
Steering Committee for education policy and practice 2018 ongoing
Advisory Council on Youth of the Council of Europe October 2019 December 2021
Board of the Global Campaign for Education July 2018 ongoing
EUROSTUDENT July 2018 ongoing
EQAF Programme Committee November 2019 November 2021
Learning and Teaching Forum Steering Committee June 2019 Ongoing
Steering Committee of EUA IEP (institutional evaluation programme) February 2020 Ongoing
EQF Advisory Group August 2018 Ongoing
Selection Committee of the Ukrainian QA agency 2018 Ongoing
Graduate Tracking Expert Group under the Commission 2018 Ongoing
Advisory Board on the Eurograduate Survey 2018 Ongoing
Europass AG July 2019 Ongoing
Mobility Working Group October 2018 Ongoing
Partnership Projects Working Group October 2018 Ongoing
LifeLong Learning Platform: Group on Validation of Non- formal and Informal Learning 2018 Ongoing
Commission Initiative on Curriculum
Guidelines Experts Group
2019 Ongoing
Global Student Forum SC 2020 2022
Entrants project Quality Council 2020 2023
100 Million Campaign Board of Trustees 2020 2022
Advisory Committee of the National Agency for the Evaluation of Universities and Research Institutes – ANVUR (Italy) 2020 2024
International Advisory Committee to Scholars at Risk 2019 ongoing
DigiEduHack Steering Group February 2020 2021

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