High quality higher education is of the utmost importance for students, institutions and society. An education of high quality provides the right tools for students to meet future challenges. A high quality higher education system is characterised by removing all obstacles to access, ensuring progress and completion for all students, implementing a student-centred approach to learning and teaching, and fairly assessing students. This system must also be braced by adequate student support services; ensuring links between learning, teaching and research activities; individual, social and civic training for responsible and active citizens; mobility opportunities; artistic and academic freedom; interdisciplinary, multi-disciplinary and cross-border programs. It is important to always consider that the opportunity to study and learn of everyone also depends on their economic situation and mental health. That is why every university cannot fail to provide adequate services to support every student.Students in this system are considered full members of the academic community and competent, constructive partners and stakeholders.
ESU believes that the quality of higher education should be one of the highest priorities in the debates within the European higher education society, as well as it should be accessible and enhanced at the institutional and programme level to ensure the best possible conditions for the entrance and completion of higher education.
Sadly, the concept of excellence in higher education is often misused to refer to so called ‘elite’ programmes and centres, which focus on a small number of individuals perceived as talented and institutions regarded as of high quality or prestigious. ESU believes that an open knowledge-based society will not be established with this concept of excellence that can only be achieved through stronger competition, but should be based on cooperation of all stakeholders, ensuring them equal conditions in access to any resources.
Every student should have the possibility to completely utilise their own intellectual potential without being limited by restrictive learning programs. ESU opposes any educational system which separates different levels of perceived talents within higher education. We stress the fact that all students should be able to be academically uplifted from the position they find themselves in.
The following policy paper consists of ESU’s position on what is being considered as high quality education from students’ perspective, taking into account the core element of education related to the delivery of learning and teaching, methodologies and its organisation, through the supporting agendas and tools set within the political framework of the Bologna Process and the established and system of Quality Assurance across the European Higher Education Area.