BM85: Resolution in Support of the Ukrainian Draft Law on Expanding the Rights of Students and Student Self-Government
In the Ukrainian higher education area, there is the Law of Ukraine “On Higher Education”, which establishes the main legal, organizational, and financial principles of the functioning of the higher education system with the aim of preparing competitive human capital for high-tech and innovative development of the country, self-realization of the individual, meeting the needs of society, the labor market and the state in qualified specialists.
In 2014 students, in particular representatives of students self-governments of HEIs, as one of the main stakeholders, participated in the drafting of the new version of the Law of Ukraine “On Higher Education”, which, in particular, changed the article on student self-governance, to which provisions were included that significantly strengthened the powers of the student self-government (SSG) and protected them from interference by university administrations.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the beginning of a full-scale invasion of russian federation on the territory of Ukraine in 2022 and long-term online-learning, the work of SSG bodies is in a destabilized state.
Therefore, it is essential to expand the rights of SSG, which plays a key role in students’ involvement to developing of the higher education system of Ukraine.
WHEREAS European Students’ Union (ESU) is committed to promoting democratic principles, safeguarding student rights, and fostering robust student self-governance in higher education and
WHEREAS, ESU recognises the unique challenges faced by Ukraine, including its path towards European integration and the difficulties arising from the ongoing full-scale war.
Acknowledgment of Context
ESU hereby acknowledges:
- The submission of a draft law № 10279to Ukraine’s Parliament, Verkhovna Rada, on November 22, 2023, aimed at expanding the rights of students and enhancing student self-government within the higher education system in Ukraine.
- The critical importance of this legislation in bolstering the democratic involvement of students in higher education institutions’ governance and decision-making processes.
- Support for the Draft Law:
- ESU endorses the draft law and strongly encourages its swift passage in Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.
- ESU highlights the importance of the law to ensure the continuity of SSG and to strengthen their role in HEIs.
- Expansion of Student Rights:
- The ESU supports the proposed expansion of grounds for academic leave, recognising its role in making education more accessible and adaptable to individual student needs.
- The ESU approves of the increased role of SSG in the appointment process of key university officials, enhancing student participation in institutional governance.
- Structural and Electoral Reforms in Student Self-Government:
- The ESU endorses the proposed structural distinction between different branches of SSG, underlining its importance for enhanced transparency and operational efficiency.
- The ESU advocates for harmonising electoral cycles across SSG in different universities to facilitate better coordination and sharing of best practices.
- Empowerment of Student Self-Governance:
- ESU encourages the extension of SSG powers in protecting student rights and organising leisure activities, recognising its impact on student influence and community development.
- ESU supports the proposal for increased funding and optimised procedures for SSG expenditures, emphasising the importance of responsible resource management.
- Enhanced Student Representation:
- ESU advocates increasing student representation in Academic Councils and bodies of public self-government of HEIs, reinforcing student influence in university processes.
- ESU supports the extension of student rights protections and participatory mechanisms to private HEIs.
- Student Involvement in University Bodies:
- ESU mandates the involvement of students in HEIs working and advisory bodies, ensuring their representation in matters concerning the educational process.
- ESU requires HEIs heads to be familiarised with regulations on SSG to prevent administrative manipulation and reinforce the authority of student governance.
- Regulatory Requirements:
- ESU defines clear regulations for SSG regulations in HEIs, emphasising non-interference from non-student bodies.
ESU supports Ukraine’s intentions on its path to the European Union and emphasizes the need for reforms in the education sector to comply with European legislation. ESU encourages the Ukrainian parliament to continue involving students in the work on higher education reforms and calls for further consultations with European student unions for comprehensive higher education reforms.
ESU reaffirms its unwavering support for Ukrainian students and higher education, especially considering Ukraine’s aspirations for European integration and its current challenges. All ESU members are called upon to advocate for the bill and support the endeavours of Ukrainian students in these challenging times.
Seconders: CREUP, ANSA, BSA, UDU, ASM, USI, ISO, FAGE, SYL, USI, LSS, FEF