March 2009
 Issue 11
Dear Friends,
Higher education isn't generally seen as a page turner or "breaking news" by those who bring world events to our attention.  Journalists, especially at the European level, tend to overlook it in favour of more 'attention-grabbing' topics such as foreign affairs, security and the perennial favourite, the economy.

The month ahead may just be a little different.  The holding of the biannual Ministerial Conference of the Bologna Process - the initiative designed to lead 46 countries into a European Higher Education Area - is one event that is almost certain to attract some coverage.  Not least because the venue this time is a mere stone's throw from Brussels, where the European media is almost exclusively based.  For once, higher education may just manage to sneak into the 'News' pages of the international press.

Nor may Bologna provide student and higher education issues with their only media flirtation in the months ahead.  While debate and coverage of the forthcoming European Parliament elections is unlikely to even delve into the seemingly peripheral matter of education in EU decision-making, the holding of the second UNESCO World Conference on Higher Education may also succeed in inciting a couple of column inches.

The silence needs to be broken.  Higher education counts, never more so as in the current economic climate where a focus on innovation and skills is recognised as a key way of lifting the flagging global economy.  ESU is going to be working tirelessly in the weeks and months ahead to ensure the wider world wakes up to the realities of European higher education and that commitments are made to deliver us to our destination of a high quality, equitable and accessible higher education area for the 46 Bologna countries by 2020.
The stakes are high, and time is short.  Excitement, uncertainty, debate, drama, tension and controversy...the world of European higher education is about to hit the headlines.  Let's hope it's for all the right reasons.

Until next month,


Editor - The Student Voice
Bologna With Student Eyes is Coming!
EyeIt's a unique representation of the student voice into arguably the most important transformation of higher education in Europe.  Since 1998, the Bologna Process has been steering 46 member countries towards a European Higher Education Area defined by quality higher education that is accessible, equitable and centred firmly on the student, and where mobility and the opportunity to gain and share international experiences are an integral part of the learning process.  And while the Bologna Follow-Up Group and biannual Ministerial Conferences monitor progress towards achieving the EHEA from a governmental perspective, little attention is paid to whether the Process is delivering from a 'user' (student) perspective.  In this context, ESU's Bologna With Student Eyes is a vital contribution to the implementation of the Bologna reforms.  Funded by the European Commission, it enables policy-makers to see the extent of changes taking place on the ground from the perspective of those who know what is taking place there.


Bologna Ministerial heading to Belgium
LeuvenIt is now almost only four weeks away.  The biannual meeting of Europe's 46 Education Ministers on the Bologna Process will be hitting the Belgian towns of Leuven and Louvain-la-Neuve on 28th and 29th April.

In addition to reviewing progress since the last Ministerial in London in 2007, the Conference will set out the priorities to be addressed in the next two years, as well as longer term over the next decade, to ensure the full realisation of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) vision.

As a key member of the Bologna Follow-Up Group, ESU is playing a leading role in the build-up to the Conference and will be doing everything possible to influence the Ministerial and the communique that will result from it, so that it takes full account of the needs and perspectives of Europe's students.

You can find out more about the Ministerial by visiting the official Bologna Process website.

Preparing for a World Conference on Higher Education
ParisFor only the second time in history, eyes from across the world will be focused firmly on the issue of tertiary level learning at the World Conference on Higher Education.  Organised by UNESCO, the Conference will see representatives from the higher education community across the globe gather together in Paris from 5-8 July 2009.  And for the first time, students look set to play a major part in proceedings.
Heading for the European Parliament - the ESU alumni about to make her mark on the EU stage

A former ESU alumni looks set to hit the heights of the European Parliament if results in the forthcoming elections go as expected. Dutch Green candidate, Judith Sargentini, is almost guaranteed to be taking up a new position as an MEP from June, marking a huge achievement for this former member of the European student movement.

Get ready for an Education Manifesto for the EP elections
There will be 785 new pairs of feet making their way through the Quartier Européen in Brussels from 7th June 2009 as voters in 27 countries go to the polls to elect a new European Parliament.  In truth, many of them will be the same pairs of feet as before, but if nothing else, the elections provide a key opportunity for interest groups to seek commitments and a renewed agenda from Europe's elected representatives for the period 2009-2014.  With this in mind, ESU will shortly be publishing a manifesto for the next parliamentary term which sets out clearly the measures that European students would like MEPs to take in order to secure the shared vision for higher education in Europe which we all wish to see.

Engaging MEPs in Education: ESU and AEGEE joint event in the European Parliament

EPFollowing straight on from the Leuven Ministerial Conference of the Bologna Process, ESU and AEGEE (Association des Etats Generaux d'Etudiants) are delighted to be hosting a joint event on education policy in the EU in the European Parliament.

Kindly hosted by Katerina Batzeli MEP, Chair of the Culture and Education Committee, the event will focus on debates and discussions around the future of the Bologna Process, particularly in light of the Ministerial, the EU's Strategic Framework for Cooperation on Education and Training and the role of the Parliament on education issues in its forthcoming mandate.

The event will take place on Thursday 29th April, 4pm, in the Paul-Henri Spaak building of the European Parliament in Brussels.

For more information and to find out how you can attend, please e-mail:

Call for entries: Innovating Minds Competition

Do you have an 'innovating mind'?  If so, a new competition launched by the Senate of the Czech Republic in partnership with the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports could be just for you.  The competition aims to address the fact that Europe is estimated to be short of one million scientists and researchers in the years to come, and that students continue not to be attracted to science and technology study paths within higher education, and that those who are often end up in the United States.
The competition is open to young people up to 20 years of age from all European countries, and there are prizes of up to 5000 EUR to be awarded.
Full details can be found here.

EMUNI Summer School 2009

One of Europe's newest, most innovative and truly international universities - EMUNI, or the Euro-Mediterreanean University, is proud to be holding its 2nd summer school this year with a series of educational opportunities from June to September.  Organised in nine of EMUNI's co-founding institutions from six different countries, the summer schools are designed to support cooperation among Euro-Mediterranean universities, to stimulate mobility and to contribute to greater understanding among people and cultures.

Full details of the programme and how to register can be found here

In This Issue
Bologna With Student Eyes is Coming!
Bologna With Student Eyes is Coming!
Preparing for a World Conference on Higher Education
Former ESU alumni heading for the EP
Get ready for an ESU manifesto for the EP elections
Engaging MEPs in Education: ESU and AEGEE joint event in the European Parliament
Innovating Minds Competition
EMUNI Summer School
Upcoming ESU Events

2-4 April - Equity training for NUSes, Tallinn, Estonia

19-26 April - Bologna Seminar and Board Meeting 56, Brussels

12-14 June, Equity training for NUSes, Austria

Interesting bits from elsewhere
The European Youth Forum (YFJ) has just launched its own manifesto for the forthcoming mandate of the European Parliament and European Commission.  'PROPOSALS FOR A NEW YOUTH AGENDA FOR THE EU' sets out YFJ's main expectations of the key EU institutions for the period 2009-2014.

YFJ Proposals for a New Youth Agenda

A Declaration on higher education in India has just been published as part of the series of preparatory conferences for the UNESCO World Conference on Higher Education. 

The conference,
'Facing Global and Local Challenges: The New Dynamics for Higher Education,' was organised by India's Ministry of Human Resource Development and the National University of Educational Planning and Administration, in collaboration with UNESCO.

The full text of the declaration, which reiterates the link between higher education, nation-building and sustainable development, can be found here.

Representatives from over 500 European Universities gathered in Prague last week for the annual convention of the European University Association (EUA). And they issued a strong message to Europe's governments - in the current economic and financial crisis, continued investment in higher education is vital.  Universities in particular  have a key role to play as a motor for economic recovery by providing the research based education at all levels needed to promote creativity and innovation.

These views were echoed by European Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso, who told participants In a video address that it would be a mistake to cut public and private spending on education and research as this could have a 'direct negative impact' on future growth. He also stressed that universities themselves could contribute directly to economic recovery by responding to changing labour market needs. Investing more in education and research would also help Europe emerge from recession faster and in better shape, he noted.
News from partners
Hot off the press is the latest newsletter of the European Youth Forum

And you can read all the latest news from the European University Association here.

All the latest from UNESCO's Education division can be found here.
HE News in Brief
Global: Why equity in higher education matters?

France: Academic and student anger grows

Spain: Could do better according to the OECD

UK: Sexuality challenge for universities
Want to know what the EU's powers on education policy actually are?  Click here to find out more.

Interested to see what the European Parliament has been doing on education and culture during the 2004-2009 legislature? Click here to read about the main achievements to date.

ESU in the Media
Radical plans to cut Erasmus study time

University World News article on ESU's Bologna declaration

Coming up...
There's a lot to look out for in the month ahead...

April - launch of ESU's manifesto for the European Parliament elections

April - launch of Bologna With Student Eyes 2009

28-29 April - Ministerial Conference of the Bologna Process, Leuven/Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium

7 June - European Parliament elections
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