BAKU – The European Students’ Union (ESU) urges the European Commission to stop promoting tuition fees as an option for financing higher education. Aims to widen access to higher education should rather be supported, such as national plans for access to education. Too much attention has been given to the economic role of higher education. More should be done to promote it as a public responsibility and a public good. Investments in education should not be considered as targets in austerity measures.
The students’ statement analyses various aspects of a mid-term review of the so-called EU2020 and ET2020 strategies for education. They emphasised the need to follow-up on support to student-centred learning, for instance by investing additional funds to back comprehensive reforms. Student-centred learning is characterised by innovative methods of teaching which promote learning in communication with teachers and other learners. It takes students seriously as active participants in their own learning, fostering transferable skills such as problem solving, critical and reflective thinking.
The statement, furthermore, underlines how important it is for the European Union to involve stakeholders in all policy discussions. All relevant stakeholders should be integrated into the decision-making process much earlier whenever policies are developed. They should be given a chance to comment on first drafts from the European Commission.
The European Union should also support, encourage and welcome free, academic and rigorous research and policy debate. ESU encourages the European Commission to base its proposals and policy documents on wide objective research and consultation with relevant stakeholders. This ensures that various political and socio-economic concerns are heard.
European Youth Guarantee
Lastly, the students discussed how authorities could follow-up on the European Youth Guarantee and its implementation. Education and training should be considered as integral components of the European Youth Guarantee, using Finland as an example. It will be necessary to follow-up on the implementation of such programmes and guarantees in relation to the goals set out for the higher education systems in the Modernisation Agenda. This falls in line with the cohesive approach to educational policy previously addressed.
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The European Students’ Union, headquartered in Brussels, is the umbrella organisation of 47 national unions of students from 39 European countries. ESU represents and promotes the educational, social, economical and cultural interests of students at the European level. Through its member unions, ESU represents over 11 million students in Europe. To find out more about ESU, follow us on Twitter @ESUtwt, check out or Facebook page or visit www.esu-online.org. ESU celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2012.