The Monthly Newsletter of the European Students' Union
June 2009
 Issue 14 - The Global Student Edition
Dear Friends,
Almost everything these days appears to be global- the economy is the one that immediately springs to mind, but 'globalisation' has spread its wings into a multitude of aspects of our everyday lives - music, travel, technology, retail, food, fashion, sport - there is, in fact, little that has not become part of the global marketplace.

In the policy arena, the picture is similar.  Global security is now a favourite phrase of any self-respecting politician, while economic policy, environmental policy, defense policy, health policy are just some of the areas with an increasingly global dimension.

Education is an exception to this.  A primarily national affair, even European-level cooperation is a relatively new phenomenon that can be traced back to the late 1990s.  The only hint of an international flavour to education policy came ten years ago at the first UNESCO World Conference on Higher Education, but with little in the way of follow-up, it seemed as if the momentum had failed to materialise.

The second WCHE therefore brings with it a sense of anticipation and a promise of elevating of education to a whole new level.  The stated UNESCO aim of internationally-agreed actions on higher education is a first, as is ESU's collaboration with the other regional student platforms to create a global student statement for the very first time.  Following a successful first meeting in January, the various platforms representing student groups from North America, Africa and Asia, among others, will meet again after the WCHE to discuss concrete proposals for greater student collaboration at the global level.  Representing a major shift in the way higher education issues are dealt with, such collaboration can only serve to benefit students worldwide by creating an effective forum for resolving issues that are common to all.

With about 1500 people gathering in Paris for the occasion, there is always the fear that the WCHE will turn into more of a talking shop rather than an effective discussion and decision-making forum. It is however only through debate in a democratic, culturally sensitive and inclusive environment that beneficial common decisions on higher education progress can be made and the UNESCO Forum seems to be an almost perfect setting for this aim. But whatever the outcome from the conference itself, the start of much tighter student cooperation across the globe is in itself an achievement to be proud of.  And one to which ESU has made, and will continue to make, a sizeable contribution.

Until next month.


Editor - The Student Voice
Student platforms unite for a global look at higher education
globalMonths of preparatory work will come to a head next week in Paris as representatives from across the world come together to take a truly global perspective on higher education for only the second time.  The World Conference on Higher Education (WCHE) +10 will build on the inaugural event in 1999 and unite over 1,000 participants to discuss the future of higher education and research at UNESCO's headquarters.

Full story...
ECTS and DS labels not quite hitting the spot
labelsSeveral years after it first started, the European Commission has just relaunched its ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) and DS (Diploma Supplement) labels for higher education insitutions.

According to the Commission, 65 higher education institutions from 16 countries have been awarded with special European quality labels in recognition of their efforts to make it easier for students to study abroad. These labels have been given to universities which have shown excellence in applying the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) and the Diploma Supplement (DS), two European instruments that make teaching and learning more transparent and facilitate the recognition of studies and qualifications.

Full story...
New OECD website for education in the financial crisis
moneyIt appears that we talk about little else at the moment, and with education also bearing the brunt of the current financial crisis, the OECD is launching a new website to help the sector to navigate itself safely through the economic storm.

The Education Lighthouse, as it is called, offers you:

·       Up-to-the-minute information, evidence and analysis on the impact of the crisis on education, with concrete examples of how governments and institutions in different countries are coping with the crisis.

·       Information on high priority issues such as education budgets, education in stimulus packages, how unemployment affects motivation and learning attitudes ...  and much more.

·       An opportunity for you to contribute to this information sharing platform with other members  of the fast-growing OECD social network.

You can visit the Education Lighthouse website here
German students strike over HE reforms
strikeIt's a country with an education system in crisis.  From June 15th - 19th university students and school students in numerous cities all over Germany joined in a week of diverse protest actions to create public awareness on the problems of the country's education system. The protest action, which was called the educational strike (, had been planned and carried out in a decentralised way by local unions and supported by ESU's German member union, fzs, as well as by several trade unions and school student unions.

Full story...

An insider's view: Student representation through the eyes of a new European student rep
In this piece, Robert Santa, a newly elected member of ESU's Academic Affairs Committee, gives us a personal perspective on the world of student representation:

Student engagement and participation are as old as universities themselves. However, in recent decades we have witnessed the student movement coming full circle and actually making its demands heard before a decision is made. In other words, students have moved from just being the passive beneficiaries of education to being stakeholders, who have a word of their own on issues that ultimately concern them more than anybody else. With this, we have gone a long way since 1968, when students were alone against the system, and when their opinions were ignored or, at best, looked down upon. But still, we have a long way to go before student engagement leads to truly student-centered decision-making in higher education.

Full article...
Youth Health Conference Coming to Brussels
Around 400 people look set to converge on the European Commission Charlemagne building in Brussels next week for a high-profile look at youth health.  The Youth Health Conference on 9-10 is part of a joint initiative of the Commission and European Youth Forum (YFJ) with a view to exploring:

How young people can be empowered to take responsibility for their health.

How they can be helped in this by governments, policy-makers, health professionals, youth organisations and other stakeholders.

ESU is a partner in the project and will be present at the conference to give the students' perspective on health issues for young people.

The conference will be opened by the Commissioner for Health, Androulla Vassiliou, and features speakers from the World Health Organisation, UN, Government and a large number of NGOs.

For more information, you can visit the website here.  A full report will follow next month.

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In This Issue
A global look at HE
ECTS and DS labels
Education and the financial crisis
German students strike
An insider's view of student representation
Youth health conference coming to Brussels
Upcoming ESU Events
15-18th October: 18th European Student Convention, Stockholm

22nd-29th November: Board Meeting 57, Krakow, Poland.

ESU in the Media
Euractiv: Bologna Process not about stifling innovation and creativity

THE: Academic mobility 'ignored' by some EU states
HE News in Brief
Online forum launched ahead of World Conference

New research report from UNESCO Forum

Germany: students strike for education

Africa: Scientists call for brain-drain help

Project news
ESU is a partner in the HEXTLEARN project, or Higher Education Exploring ICT use for Lifelong Learning. 

You can read all the latest news about the project in the newsletter here.

Summer school places
Places are still available at the Graz Summer Schools from July 12-26.  Click here for more information.

Interesting bits from elsewhere

Read all the latest news from the European University Association (EUA) here

A report on the Bologna Process Stocktaking report 2009 can be found here

Check out the European Commission's a new Youth Health Initiative (YHI)  website here

Coming up...
UNESCO World Conference on Higher Education, Paris, 5-9th July.

European Commission/European Youth Forum Youth Health Conference, Brussels, 9-10th July
European Students' Union
20 Rue De La Sablonnière
1000 Bruxelles

For more information contact:
Frances Aldson:[email protected]
Anita Liice:[email protected]

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