Full ESU reaction to Youth on the Move Communication
Download the full ESU reaction to the European Commisson’s Youth on the Move Communication here.
The Communication proposes several measures to improve mobility for young learners. The European Students’ Union (ESU) supports the main actions that the Commission proposes, but thinks the Commission should not have taken the current, low level of funding for EU mobility programmes for granted.
Youth on the Move has been launched in the context in which even the successful Erasmus student mobility programme is threatened by the European Council’s EUR 25,5 million cut proposals for the 2011 budget of the Lifelong Learning Programme, which includes Erasmus.
According to a recent study by a Dutch centre for higher education studies, financial constraints are the main barrier for students who want to study abroad. The report was presented to the European Parliament’s Culture and Education Committee on September 2. The report also recommends that students should not have higher study costs than they already have today.
ESU Chairperson Bert Vandenkendelaere commented: ”This contradicts the Commission’s probe into the possibility of increasing student debt by creating a European-wide loans scheme, instead of increasing grants.”
ESU believes that fostering mobility should be the heart core policy of the European Commission and that agreements for drastic increases in direct funding in grants should be made. This should however still be backed by additional national level money that would specifically target underrepresented groups. In the view of ESU, mobility is still a far reach for most young people, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds and the Youth on the Move fails to adequately address this.
Among mobility, the communication tackles measures for battling youth unemployment and modernisation of higher education. Regarding the improvement of education systems, ESU stresses that the aim of 40% attainment is ambitious and that many countries need to do steep progress. The goal of the modernization agenda should thus not be so much about attractiveness of Europe but to increase the attractiveness of higher education for wider groups of people and thus seriously tackle challenges underlying the unequal representation of groups in society when concerning participation in higher edcuation.
Furthermore, the European Commission has launched a public consultation of the new era of education and training programmes that will be the core funding sources for actions under Youth on the Move. In addition to ESU preparing its own answer to the consultation, ESU asks students and young people to use this opportunity to ask for more funding for mobility programmes.For more information, contact Allan Päll or Magnus Malnes.