VALLETTA – “We want to form a generation of students that will clearly realise their roles in the society and will be able to take actions when necessary,” says Sargis Asatriants, Head of the International Relations Committee of the Armenian National Students’ Association (ANSA).
The board members of the European Students’ Union (ESU) have accepted ANSA as a new member to the family of European students. Over a hundred student representatives were present at the meeting that was held in the Corinthia Hotel in Valletta, Malta, on Monday 3 December 2012. ANSA had been a candidate for a membership to ESU but on Monday the board members of ESU voted almost unanimously that ANSA had fulfilled the criteria that is needed to join the organisation.
Honourable being a member of ESU
Asatriants believes that a membership to ESU includes many opportunities for ANSA as their students will be a part of the European society. “The full realisation of this idea is very important as it will have its impact on the students’ participation in shaping higher education policy at the local and the international level. Becoming a full member to ESU is honourable for our organisation as it will promote our role as the main student organisation in Armenia,” he notes.
Karina Ufert, Chairperson of ESU, welcomes ANSA as a new member. “In a relatively short time period, due to the hard work and team effort involved in the application, ANSA has demonstrated a significant progress in its organisational and policy development,” she says.
Armenia a part of the Bologna reforms
The Republic of Armenia has been a part of the Bologna process since 2005 and will host the Bologna Secretariat from 2012 till 2015. The higher education system in Armenia is currently undergoing reforms in order to fully comply with the principles and action lines of the Bologna process. Ufert believes that it is an important moment for Armenian students, as they will have a chance to take part in those reforms. “I hope that a membership to ESU will help ANSA becoming a stronger partner in the decision making process in Armenia and that our new member will contribute to the discussions at ESU as well,” she states.
ANSA’s expectations for ESU
When asked about the expectations ANSA has for the cooperation with ESU, Asatriants says that ANSA hopes it will be productive and fruitful. “Our expectations for ESU are integral to our beliefs. We are looking forward to experiencing new initiatives and positive thoughts that will be directed towards realising these ideas. ESU has been working actively with ANSA for the past months to help solving the inner organisational problems as well as to determine the weaknesses and to eliminate the shortcomings existing within our organisation. We expect that joint efforts will lead to the best result through cooperation with experts and the exchange of students’ self-governing bodies. It is our belief that with the help of ESU the Armenian students will feel as being a part of the European students’ family,” Asatriants explains.
Asatriants says that students are still considered as consumers in the education system in the Republic of Armenia like in many other former countries of the Soviet Union. ANSA wants to change this perception so that students become the main actors in the policy making process for higher education. “Our main goal is to break these stereotypes and to develop the belief that students can make a difference in the governance for higher education and for the whole society. Students should stand up for their rights and it is our task to raise the awareness of the Armenian students about their rights and responsibilities,” Asatriants states.
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The European Students’ Union, headquartered in Brussels, is the umbrella organisation of 47 national unions of students from 38 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.