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ESU worried about major geographical differences in higher education

BRUSSELS – The European Students’ Union (ESU) shows itself worried about the significant divides between levels of educational attainment within EU member states themselves. This division was revealed by a publication of an independent report from the NESSE network, dubbed “Mind the Gap”, published on 12 September.

Chairperson of ESU, Karina Ufert, said: “We call on all countries to improve support for students already in the system and continue, or indeed begin, serious work on improving national strategies for access to higher education.”

The report (*) shows that highly educated people concentrate themselves within or close to certain regions within countries, often their capital cities. It also indicates that national averages of higher educational attainment are proven to be somewhat conciliatory towards the overall national picture, hiding some serious issues of participation within countries themselves. Rural areas continue to be under-represented in higher education or within higher education attainment statistics despite the fact that national averages may appear to be more healthy, or in line with European norms.

Ufert continued: “While there still remains significant problems with brain mobility even within the studied countries, concern should be raised at measures being introduced such as the European Erasmus Loan Scheme which would incentivise concentrating highly educated people in certain countries.

The report once again highlights the importance of education policies as part of the broader family of equality policies.  Ufert concluded:” Simply put, more equal countries have higher rates of educational attainment and in turn, more healthy economies. The more diverse the regional disparities in educational attainment, the less balanced regional development and economic growth. This is as much the case for individual nations as for the European Union as a whole.”

(*) Full title of the report: “Mind the Gap – Education Inequality across EU Regions” , authored by the European Commission:

— ENDS —

For more information, please contact:

Karina Ufert, ESU Chairperson: +32 473669892 // or Marianne Slegers, ESU Communications Manager: +32/473.669.894 //


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 ESU celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2012.


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