European Students’ Convention 24

Event date - 17/10/2012
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              The European Students’ Convention 24

                  SAGE Consultation Seminar – Agenda

“The Crisis Is Getting Deeper. Is Society Under Threat?

Limassol, 17-20 October, 2012

The ESC24 aims to examine the impact of austerity measures on the society and provide the participants with a basic understanding in relation to the topic. Additionally, the event aims at stressing the importance of higher education within the crisis and the role it can play in leading the way out of the crisis, both on social and economic terms. Academic staff, students, governments and other stakeholders in the field of higher education will address the main challenges and give recommendations on the way forward. Under the Student Advancement of Graduates Employability (SAGE) project, students will be consulted to gather input for the project as drivers of change, proving the need for nurturing higher education as a public good and public responsibility, today more than ever.

SAGE is a pan-European project, which aims at exploring the impact of European higher education reforms enhancing both academic quality and relevance of education for the needs of society and labour market. On the other hand, SAGE is designed to strengthen the capacity of student representatives to take part in influencing European, national and local policy agenda on improving the employability prospects for graduates. The Seminar will look into the work that is done on the different levels by the national unions of students and explore the current discussions on the national level on the topic of employability.

SAGE project falls into the footsteps of several other ESU-led projects looking at various aspects of educational policy and practice – empowering student representatives as competent and constructive partners with regard to governance aspect of higher education; strengthening students’ participation in quality assurance and enhancement processes; widening access to education for all groups of learners; inspiring paradigm shift from teaching to learning.

Purpose of the event:

  • Examine the impact of austerity measures on the society and to provide the participants a basic understanding in relation to the topic
  • Discuss the the role of higher education in the current economic situation and defining recommendations to higher education stakeholders
  • Mapping the employment strategies of the EHEA members states and how the crisis has impacted them
  • Exploring the current discussions on employability around Europe and how the national student unions are working on the topic
  • Defining smart employability and the role of student centred learning in development of the knowledge society

Participants will be able to:

  • Gain a basic understanding and develop critical thinking on the up-to-date implementation of austerity measures and their impact on the society
  • Define recommendations for higher education stakeholders
  • Map national policies and strategies on employability
  • Understand the impact the crisis has had on the employability strategies
  • Make a link between the EU-level policies and their impact on the policy making on national level
  • Understand the impact the crisis has had on youth and the society
  • Develop critical thinking on the concept of smart employability and importance of the student-centred learning for the further employability development
  • Learn best practices on influencing the different levels of work on enhancing graduates’ employability from national unions’ of students
  • Give input on the foreseen survey on employability

Wednesday, 17th October 2012

Arrival Day for ESC24 Participants

13:00 – 17:30Optional Tour to Kourion Archaeological Site17:30 – 19:00Participants’ Registration19:00 – 19:30

Welcome Speeches

  • Chairperson of POFEN, Marios Siammas
  • Chairperson of ESU, Karina Ufert
  • Mayor of Limassol, Andreas Christou
  • Rector of the Cyprus University of Technology, Elpida Keravnou Papailiou
  • Minister of Education and Culture, George Demosthenous

19:30 – 20:30

Key Note Speech

  • The President of the Republic of Cyprus, Demetris Christofias

20:30 – 22:00Dinner22:00Social Activities


Thursday, 18th October 2012

Arrival Day for Alumni Meeting Participants09:45 – 10:00Introducing the Convention10:00 – 12:00

Panel Discussion:

The Crisis is Getting Deeper: The Impact of Austerity Measures.

12:00 – 13:00

Parallel Workshops

The Crisis is Getting Deeper: The impact of the crisis on the civil society, democracy, social and human rights.

  • Youth VS Austerity
  • Public Disorientation and Social Unrest
  • Democracy under Threat
  • The Limits of Austerity
  • Causes of the Crisis and Policy Issues

13:00 – 14:30Lunch14:30 – 16:00Parallel Workshops (Continuation)16:00 – 16:45Presentations of the Workshop Outcomes16:45 – 17:00Break17:00 – 18:30

Panel discussion:

Can Universities lead Europe out of the crisis?

  • European Commission, tbc
  • Bartek Banasak, Ministry of Higher Education, Poland
  • Campus Europae, tbc
  • Alexander Fleuret, UNEF

18:30 – 20:30Free Time20:30 – 22:30Dinner22:30Social Event

Friday, 19th October 2012

09:45 – 11:15


Gathering input for the employability survey: how can SAGE benefit the NUSes work on the topic of employability?

The employability survey is a part of the SAGE project and aims at gathering information from the NUSes so that the needs that exist on national level with regards to the topic of employability can be further explored.

11:15 – 11:30Break11:30 – 13:00

Expert Input:

How do EU-level policies answer to the expectations and needs that exist on national level?

Input from Anne Corbett, LSE and SAGE Advisory Board on Higher education in the EU policy context, EU2020 and relation with ET2020: Introducing ET2020 policy lines that impact HE reforms and how they affect the outcomes of higher education.

The session will build on the outcomes of the first session of the day, with looking at the meta-level policies on reforming higher education. How do the EU-level policies answer to the actual needs and expectations of students? 

13:00 – 14:15Lunch14:15 – 15:45

State of Art:

What are the national strategies on employment like, what are the current discussions and what are the stakeholders saying?

The topics will be explored in break out groups, with the aim of mapping out current trends and how the crisis and EU-level policy making has affected the national strategies.

15:45 – 16:00Break16:00 – 17:30

Panel discussion:

Challenges from around Europe. What are the national students’ unions faced with currently?

The session will take a look what are the unions engaged in currently and how the unions are responding and pushing for their goals.

17:30 – 17:45Break17:45 – 19:00Gender Session20:30Gala Dinner hosted by the President of the Republic of Cyprus

Saturday, 20th October 2012

10:30 – 12:30

Smart employability:

What is the key step towards the encouragement of individual students in developing critical thinking and skills contributing to graduates’ employability? Case Study on Cyprus will provide the answer.


Panel discussion with:

  • Government representative,
  • Individual teacher,
  • Individual student,
  • Employers’ representative,
  • Employees’ representative

12:30 – 14:00Lunch14:00 – 16:00

Joint Session with ESU Alumni:

Learning from the Past, Focusing on the Future

What were the challenges of our predecessors and to which extent has the political state of play changed by now? How has the purpose of higher education changed over the time? When did ‘employability’ become a central topic of discussions? Did students study in order to get jobs or to become responsible and pro-active citizens? How much has the purpose of higher education changed until today?

The session will also draw attention to the main challenges of austerity measures and their long-term effects on higher education, from the alumni point of view.

16:00 – 16:30Conclusions17:30 – 18:30Optional Session: Experiencing the Cyprus Culture18:30 – 20:30Free Time20:30 – 22:30Dinner22:30Social Event

Sunday, 21st October 2012

Departure of Participants13:00 – 17:00Optional Tour to Kourion Archaeological Site


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