The Monthly Newsletter of the European Students' Union
May 2009
 Issue 13 - The Equity Edition
Dear Friends,

We all like to think that we live in an equal society.  The era of blatant discrimination now largely at an end, and with equality principles firmly enshrined in law, it's all too easy to mistake the world around us for a discrimination-free society filled with opportunities for all.

This passive acceptance of 'our world' as a fair world is clear in the widespread abandonment of the equality cause.  Feminism has become something that most western women recoil at the idea of associating themselves with, so widespread is the view that 'the battle has been won.'  Those who continue to campaign for equal rights for ethnic and minority groups, be they for lesbians, gays and transsexuals, disabled people, older people or gypsies, risk being labelled as 'whingers' - people who are never satisfied and who continue to complain about things for little reason.
But it only takes a brief look beneath the surface of the world around us to see a rather different picture. Whether we like it or not, there are still a significant number of heterosexual men who would prefer not to employ an openly gay man, a sizeable majority of adults with children who are unable to overcome the financial and social barriers to being able to return to study, fears of racism serving as barrier to mobility and travel  to certain countries....Is this really the equal world we have always dreamt of living in?  Are we honestly content for such a society to remain static, and for such prejudices and discrimination to take ever-greater root in the conscious and unconscious behaviour of our fellow citizens?

ESU believes that equality for all is a fundamental cornerstone of society, and one which needs considerable more work to achieve.  And with many of the prejudices and discriminatory behaviour we see exhibited having its origins in our education, we believe we have a major responsibility to tackle this issue at its very root.  The equity project we are currently running is just one example of our work in this field - including training student representatives across Europe to deliver greater equity within their national learning environments. 

If there is one lesson for all of us in terms of prejudice and discrimination, it is that none of us are above it.  Complacency and lack of awareness are as great a danger as the prejudices themselves.  ESU is aware on an organisational level, and we will continue to do as much as we can to deliver a truly equitable society for all.

Until next month.


Editor - The Student Voice
Enhancing the European contribution to the WCHE+10
EuropeWe are only just over one month away from one of the biggest events on the higher education calendar.  The UNESCO World Conference on Higher Education +10 will take place in Paris from 5-9th July to bring together regional perspectives and translate them into a global vision for the development of academic learning.  

The contribution from the Europe region, which includes North America and Israel, into the WCHE+10 was the subject of a major conference in Bucharest last week (21-24 May), coordinated by UNESCO-CEPES in collaboration with a number of other key stakeholders.  As well as being a partner in its organisation, ESU was in full attendance at the event, with six delegates, including two speakers, ensuring that the student voice was heard as clearly as possible in the negotiations.


Equity - reality or fallacy?
EquityLook around you, beneath the surface of our diverse society.  Are people really on an equal footing where you work, and in the wider world around you?  What are the assumptions that you make about gender, or disability?  Sexuality or social background? Would it surprise you to call an IT engineer, and find a woman of African origin on the end of the phone?  Or find that your office cleaner was a graduate male?  Inequality remains pervasive in society, despite the progress made over the past few decades.  And with many of these assumptions coming from socialisation, education and upbringing, ESU is running a major project on equity issues within the context of higher education.  


A changing of the guard for ESU
All good things must come to an end, and for many of the members of ESU's elected team 2008-2009, next month will see their mandate draw to a close as a new team gears up to steer the organisation into the first half of 2010.
The ESU 2009-10 team was elected at the 56th Board Meeting which took place in Brussels at the end of April.  A number of motivated student representatives were elected by official representatives from ESU's 47 member unions who gathered to vote in the public figures of the organisation for the year ahead.

This guard change will be complimented by the continuation of some existing team members who were re-elected for a second term, including ESU Chairperson Ligia Deca, and the Executive Committee member Alma Joensen.
The new line-up for 2009-10 will therefore look as follows:

New study on financing HE in SE Europe
The Centre for Education Policy ( ), an education research centre based in Serbia, has just released a study on Financing Higher Education in South-Eastern Europe, focusing on Albania, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia. A noticeable lack of information about these countries in international research literature, coupled with a lack of information in the countries themselves, amongst policy makers and various stakeholders on financing higher education, were the primary reasons for launching the study. The key intention of the study is to provide material for widening and deepening the ongoing discussions on the financing of higher education in the region, and to offer a solid overview of the current situation to interested national and international audiences alike.

'Let's Go!' goes to Georgia
let's goIt may be officially over, but work on the ground to deliver the objectives of ESU's 'Let's Go' campaign is continuing apace in Georgia, where a new project has been launched to increase mobility opportunities for students and staff alike.
Aiming to achieve the goal of making mobility a reality for all, the 'Let's Go! - Georgia' campaign has already formed a national mobility coalition, consisting of the Educators & Scientists Free Trade Union of Georgia (ESFTUG) and ESU member, the Students' Organisations League of Georgia (SOLG).  This organisation has been registered as an NGO, with two co-presidents at the helm, including ESU's Student Union Development Committee member Kate Chachava, supported by an executive committee of teachers and student representatives to ensure wide support for, and ownership over, the campaign.

ESN Survey - fill in and win!
A new student survey, the ESNSurvey 2009: Information for Exchange has just been launched, offering you the chance to help improve information provision for fellow students. Organised by the Erasmus Student Network (ESN), the survey is open for contributions until the end of July 2009.

ESN would like to invite all exchange and international students to fill in the questionnaire and to help us improve the availability, quality and access to information for international students. The main goal of the survey is to analyse what information students want, the information they receive, from whom and how much.

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In This Issue
Equity - fallacy or reality?
A changing of the guard for ESU
'Let's Go!' Georgia
Financing HE in SE Europe
Win! ESN Survey
Upcoming ESU Events

12-14 June, Equity training for NUSes, Austria

Upcoming ESU Events

12-14 June, Equity training for NUSes, Austria

Call for participants

ESU - European Students' Union, in collaboration with the Council of Europe - Directorate for Youth and Sport, has the pleasure to invite you to the Study Session organised on 12.07.-18.07.2009, at the European Youth Centre in Strasbourg.  

The study session's theme is "Improving Higher Education through the engagement of student experts".

If you are already a member of the ESU's Student Experts' pool or you would like to join the group of ESU experts, you are welcome to apply to be a participant of the Study Session in Strasbourg. 25 students will have the opportunity to improve their knowledge on quality assurance and quality reviews of universities and quality assurance agencies. The outcomes of the session will also be an important input to development of Student Experts' Pool.

Application  procedure

If you are interested in participating in the Study session and becoming a member of Student Experts' Pool on QA, please send your CV and a motivation letter by e-mail to the following address: [email protected] The deadline for submitting your application is Friday 5th June.

For further clarification, contact Allan Päll, Course Director: [email protected]; telephone: +37253955320

ESU in the Media
Teaching the EU a lesson : special feature in The Parliament Magazine

European Voice: Bologna Process given extra time to study

HE News in Brief
US: Rankings can trigger innovation, new study finds

France: Why dropouts drop out

Europe: Recession encourages education push

Global: Higher Education World Conference

Africa: Leaders fail education's needs
Web links
With greater emphasis now than ever before on increasing student mobility, a new Commission-funded project is helping students to make the most of mobility opportunities. Check out - a new blog platform for European mobile students. It enables students to tell their story and read about others' experiences during their exchange programme. The collection of stories of students' experiences tell about the great time they had, and what they got up to, as well as helping in the case of any difficulties.


Need to know MORE about the European Parliament elections, or want to catch up on the latest goings-on fro  across the continent?  Cast your eyes at to get ALL the latest news!

Interesting bits from elsewhere

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


YOU are the envy of millions around the world.  Why?  Because you have the right to vote in democratic elections.  And they don't.

You have the opportunity to use in next month in the European Parliament elections.

Don't know who to vote for?  Take a vote match test here

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