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
picture. Whether we like it or not, there are still a significant number
heterosexual men who would prefer not to employ an openly gay man, a
majority of adults with children who are unable to overcome the
social barriers to being able to return to study, fears of racism
serving as barrier to mobility and travel to certain
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
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
Until next month.
Editor - The Student Voice
|Enhancing the European contribution to the WCHE+10
We 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.
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?
Look 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.
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 (www.cep.edu.rs ), 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
It 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,
|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.
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.
|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
- 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".
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.
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@example.com. The deadline for submitting your application is Friday 5th June.
For further clarification, contact Allan Päll, Course Director: firstname.lastname@example.org; telephone: +37253955320
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 http://mobi-blog.eu/ - 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.
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 http://www.cafebabel.com/eng/ to get ALL the latest news!
|Interesting bits from elsewhere
Check out the European Commission's has a new Youth Health Initiative (YHI) here
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
|UNESCO World Conference on Higher Education, Paris, 5-9th July.