Plan of work 2017

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ESU adopted its Plan of Work 2017 during the Board Meeting 71 in Gdansk.  The plan includes specific targets for the year 2017 within the framework of the strategic priorities set at the Board Meeting 67 in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Download the full Plan Of Work 2017 here.

1.    Mobility & Internationalisation

1.a. Mobility and Erasmus + (Strategic priorities 2015-2017 1a., 1b., 1c.,  1d. )
ESU will continue promoting accessibility to quality mobility programs while ensuring equality and equity for all students. The mid-term review of Erasmus+ will be used as an opportunity to further advocate for these principles.

  • 1.a.a. Use the findings from ESUs Erasmus+ survey and other surveys on Erasmus+ in promotion of accessibility to quality programs, financial support and credit mobility.
  • 1.a.b. Deliver an input for the mid-term Erasmus+ review and coordinate input to thex public consultation from the member unions.
  • 1.a.c. Use existing data and advocate for collection of new relevant datasets to demonstrate the inequity in access for marginalised groups, and advocate for equal access to mobility for these groups.
  • 1.a.d. Engage in and promote activities and projects that will aim to identify the different challenges that different marginalized group face in mobility and to target diverse solutions for each and every one of them.

1.b. International Students and Internationalisation (Strategic priorities 2015-2017 1e.)

The promotion of equal treatment and equal opportunities for international students in the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) will be supported through identifying the position of international students in higher education and society as a whole.

  • 1.b.a.  Identify best practices in the integration of international students in society and higher education institutions, and advocate for equal treatment of international students.
  • 1.b.b.  Monitor the implementation of the Visa Directive providing an update to member unions.
  • 1.b.c. Represent ESU in the in Bologna Follow Up Group (BFUG) Advisory Group 1 on International Cooperation ensuring legitimate student participation in the Bologna Policy Forum and the inclusion of social dimension of mobility in priority focus.

1.c. Global Student Cooperation (Strategic priorities 2015-2017 1f.)

As our higher education systems become increasingly globalised, and societal issues are shared across regional borders, it’s important that we continue to strive for strong worldwide cooperation with other student movements, in order to build cooperation and solidarity in facing the challenges these changes present. For example, a strong united voice of students in global agendas such as the sustainable development goals (SDG) is crucial. Cooperation worldwide will continue to focus on using shared struggles to develop common campaigns and facilitate the building of relationships.

  • 1.c.a.     Support the development of global student cooperation, including participating in and facilitating global campaigns, such as Fund our future
  • 1.c.b.  Monitor and promote the SDG, in particular SDG4, and support and encourage member unions to do the same.
  • 1.c.c.  Advocate for the implementation of, and promote the importance of education for sustainable development, supporting member unions to do the same.

2.    Social  Dimension

2.a. Social dimension in a nutshell (Strategic priorities 2015-2017 2a.)
According to ESU policy, the social dimension needs to be the starting point on which strategies, visions and decisions should be built upon, but it is increasingly treated as side aspect within the higher education environment. In order to promote the student point of view on social dimension, ESU needs to redefine its own understanding.

  • 2.a.a. A social dimension in a nutshell factsheet will be produced to facilitate the work of the Executive Committee to integrate the social dimension from a student perspective in all areas of higher education.
  • 2.a.b. A basics of social dimension session will be provided at the ESC 33 lining out the importance of the social dimension for other working areas.


2.b. Social Dimension as a policy priority (Strategic priorities 2015-2017 2a., 2b.)
ESU needs to play a crucial role in safeguarding social dimension as a priority in the BFUG as no specific Working Group (WG) is foreseen to tackle the Social Dimension. Special attention has to be paid to the WG1 on Monitoring and the WG2 on Implementation. On the EU level, the position of the social dimension in the revision of the Modernisation Agenda shall be emphasized.

  • 2.b.a. Support the collection of the needed data for the Implementation Report 2018, especially through a survey linked to Bologna with Student Eyes.
  • 2.b.b. Assure that that the social dimension priority from the Yerevan Communique is adequately reflected in the agenda of WG  on Implementation.
  • 2.b.c. Co-organise and participate in events related to the follow-up of the social dimension strategy from the ministerial conference Yerevan 2015.
  • 2.b.d. Include the social dimension in the work related to the ET2020 WG on the Modernisation of Higher Education.
  • 2.b.e. actively follow up on the creation of the Social Pillar of Rights to ensure that students’ viewpoints are adequately reflected in the Pillar


2.c. Marginalized groups (Strategic priorities 2015-2017 2a., 2b., 2d.)
ESU will be monitoring and evaluating marginalized groups in higher education – not only in higher education as a whole, but also in ESU as an organisation. A main focus will be put on students with disabilities. The available research and data shall be used to advocate for a sufficient student support system fostering equal access, retention and completion.

  • 2.c.a. Specifically research experiences of disabled students and develop ESU’s strategy for tackling barriers met by students with disabilities.
  • 2.c.b. Follow up on the definition of marginalized groups in Europe and their inclusion in the BFUGs strategy as well as on other European platforms emphasizing the inclusion of ESUs priorities in the relevant documents.
  • 2.c.c. Use EUROSTUDENT and other available data as a starting point for an armamentarium for a sufficient student support system, cooperating with the public responsibility cluster.
  • 2.c.d. Provide trainings and materials in order to enable ESU to act as a role model for inclusive organisations.


2.d. Promotion of Students’ Rights (Strategic priorities 2015-2017 2a., 2d.)

Starting from the Student Rights Charter, ESU will line out advocacy goals for fair treatment of students. Specifically, the situation on students in internships during and directly after their studies will be analysed.

  • 2.d.a. Based on the ESU policy, a lobby strategy on how to fight against unpaid internships and inappropriate working environments both during and after studies will be developed. As a part of this, ESU will define and promote what a real internship is, to ensure that the word is exclusively used to refer to activities with an educational purpose.
  • 2.d.b. Review the student’s rights charter and develop a set of indicators what fair treatment means and how they can be implemented.


2.e. Global Access Movement (Strategic priorities 2015-2017 2c.)

The global aspect of solidarity and the fight against an unjust and unequal higher education sector shall be the main aspect of ESU’s related work.

  • 2.e.a Liaise with the European Access Network (EAN) and Global Access to Post-Secondary Education (GAPS) with the aim to define ESU’s role in GAPS while preparing the 2nd World Congress on Global Access on postsecondary education.
  • 2.e.b. Support refugee students together with member unions through the funds in the re-granting scheme.
  • 2.e.c. Disseminate the research done on the recognition of refugee’s qualifications amongst involved stakeholders.

2.f. Solidarity and Human rights (Strategic priorities 2015-2017 2e.)

2.f.1. Solidarity and partnerships. ESU will continue to stand in solidarity with students and academics when- and wherever there are breaches of academic and fundamental human rights. Our strengthened global network in the wake of the Bergen Declaration should be used as a platform for student unions to support each other on students’ rights to participate and to have a safe learning environment.

  • 2.f.1.a. Use the global student movement as a platform for cooperation on human rights through existing partnerships and building new ones.
  • 2.f.1.b. Build strategies to ensure safe student’s participation together with Scholars at Risk (SAR).
  • 2.f.1.c. Engage actively to support the development of inclusive and democratic student movements in closed and non-democratic areas.

2.f.2. Promoting human rights and raising awareness about attacks. Representing a student perspective on human rights and academic freedom, our human rights and solidarity strategy clearly states that ESU should speak out against attacks on human rights including subtle ones which are seen more often in European countries. ESU will stress the importance of being vigilant of any minor violations and grey areas, as both physical and ideological attacks on education and academic freedom have been frequent last years.

  • 2.f.2.a. Monitor and inform the organisation on concerning developments in the human rights area, seeking media attention when deemed necessary.
  • 2.f.2.b. Hold courses and trainings on proactive students’ work to promote human rights, democracy and peaceful societies.
  • 2.f.2.c. Advocate for the right to education in times of conflict.
  • 2.f.2.d. Work for a pan-European students at risk scheme.
  • 2.f.2.e. Ensure that all ESU activities are of a high ethical standard according to human rights.


2.g. Equality (Strategic priorities 2015-2017 2e.)

2.g.1. Capacity building and skills development and operational framework of ESU

Internal development in ESU is a core working area in the field of Equality and can be subsumed under two columns: first internal capacity building and skills development and second the statutory documents and operational framework.

  • 2.g.1.a. Develop and conduct gender sessions and sessions related to the area of equality during BMs, ESCs and EC-Meetings.
  • 2.g.2.b. Accompany and assist the work of the Task Force on Women’s Representation, assuring the examination of the participation by gender within the organisation and developing a toolkit for making the organisation more equal.
  • 2.g.1.c. Revise the Code of Conduct and evaluate the Gender Mainstreaming Strategy and consider an (additional) Equality Strategy.

2.g.2. Policies External representation and policies

Students still face sexual harassment on a daily basis, but higher education needs to be a safe space and free of sexual harassment, towards which ESU will develop policies. For further input, the relations with existing networks shall be maintained.

  • 2.g.2.a. Collect arguments against discrimination of women in higher education.
  • 2.g.2.b. Maintain and strengthen the cooperation with relevant networks, such as International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex Youth & Student Organisation (IGLYO) and European Women’s Lobby (EWL).

3.    Quality of higher education

3.a. Implementation of student-centred learning in practise (Strategic priorities 2015-2017 3a.)

ESU will increase awareness about and facilitate the implementation of Student Centred Learning (SCL) as a core accomplishment of ESU in the area of Quality. This is going to be aimed not only towards stakeholders, but also towards students’ unions. The activities will be based on PASCL project outcomes.

  • 3.a.a. Integrate the peer assessment based on the SCL concept to the procedures of the QA pool of ESU.
  • 3.a.b. Provide additional extensive trainings on the area of SCL to QA pool members.
  • 3.a.c. Develop a platform of peer learning in the area of SCL for member unions
  • 3.a.d. Assure the treatment of SCL as a priority topic in all three BFUG working groups


3.b. Policies on digitalisation and cross-border QA (Strategic priorities 2015-2017 3a.)

ESU will be revising its’ policy on Quality of Higher Education. There are a couple of important factors, caused by changes in education in recent years, which have to be taken into consideration: digitalisation, which is becoming a prominent tool, and cross border QA, which is starting to have a significant role in Quality assurance. ESU needs to assure that these are developing in a favourable way for increased quality of education.

  • 3.b.a. Developing policy on cross border QA
  • 3.b.b. Developing policy on digitalization and modernisation of the HE
  • 3.b.c. Assure the adequate treatment of new developments in the field of quality of education in the BFUG WG 3 on New Bologna Goals


3.c. Developing guidelines on constructing learning outcomes in non-formal and informal education (Strategic priorities 2015-2017 3e.)

Learning outcomes in non-formal and informal learning are difficult to define due to lack of insight in all parts of the learning process. ESU will tackle the difficulties in definition, in order to remove barriers for designing flexible higher education programs.

  • 3.c.a. Developing official guidelines on learning outcomes in non-formal and informal learning.
  • 3.c.b. Disseminating of the guidelines among member unions and other relevant stakeholders
  • 3.c.c. Revising and extending policy on non-formal education and informal learning


3.d. Monitoring and promoting of the European Standards and Guidelines (ESG) (Strategic priorities 2015-2017 3b.)

The ESG 2015 need to be common knowledge of stakeholders, full understanding of the revision has to be promoted. ESU will monitor their implementation and understanding throughout Europe, supporting the member unions.

  • 3.d.a. Use EQUIP project materials and deliverables to raise awareness about the ESG revision and collect feedback of students on the implementation of the revised ESG.
  • 3.d.b. Support member unions to accompany the adjustments of QA systems in their country through a webinar.
  • 3.d.c. Provide additional and extensive trainings on the area of ESG to QA pool members


3.e.  Collection of good practices of quality in education (Strategic priorities 2015-2017 3a., 3b., 3c., 3e.)

The challenges within quality in education are rapidly developing. NUSes can learn from each other how to overcome obstacles and improve their practices in that field. ESU should create an accessible platform for sharing knowledge among Board members.

  • 3.e.a. Collect good practices in an open and accessible way from ESUs members.
  • 3.e.b. Evaluate the input given by the board until BM Malta.
  • 3.e.c. Explore possible further use, ways of publication and in in-depth research in the gathered good practices

3.f. Advocate for automatic recognition of degrees and accreditation decisions

Different aspects of recognition are discussed in the European arena in 2017. ESU will participate in the related meetings in both the relevant EU and EHEA bodies, while emphasizing the students view according to our policies.

  • 3.f.a. Monitor development and take active involvement in the revision of the Key Competencies Framework.
  • 3.f.b. Monitor and contribute to the process of revision of the Recommendation on the European Qualification Framework
  • 3.f.c. Assure the discussion of Learning outcomes in the BFUG AG 4 on the Diploma Supplement


4.    Public responsibility, financing and governance


4a. Commodification (Strategic priorities 2015-2017 4.a.)

With the increasing interest in public higher education from businesses and policymakers as a tool for employability, economic growth of the society, and for the short term interest of the industries, we are seeing an increased level of commodification of higher education.  ESU will work towards creating awareness of the dangers of commodification in higher education.

  • 4.a.a. Use data from the questionnaire on commodification of higher education to map the level of commodification in higher education systems in Europe, to be used as a tool for advocating against the dangers of commodification.
  • 4.a.b. Create an overview of the policy updates on commodification from stakeholders within higher education to be used for further strategic advocacy.
  • 4.a.c. Deliver a set of actions aiming to create a room in the public space for highlighting the dangers of commodification.


4b. Public funding (Strategic priorities 2015-2017 4.b.)
With the ongoing massification of HE, ESU will work towards increased public funding for higher education, addressing the funding gap and austerity measures. ESU will also work towards improving data availability for the use of NUSs as a support tool for leading national struggles

  • 4.b.a. Advocate for more public funding to support the aim of quality education for all by  strategically cooperating with key stakeholders in education on European level, identifying common challenges and mobilising on advocacy.
  • 4.b.b. Improve the availability of transparent data concerning student support mechanisms and tuition fees within Europe to be used by the member unions. Use EUROSTUDENT for more effective means of data collection and popularise it for more data sets where students are the main source of data collection.


4.c. Meaningful student participation (Strategic priorities 2015-2017 4.c.)

Higher education is used as a tool to solve an increasing number of problems that society is facing today. In order to face these changes, the affected partners are required to be involved in all stages of the decision-making. ESU would like to see a strengthening of the involvement of students and students’ unions in the governance and policy making regarding higher education and other areas that have an effect on students.

  • 4.c.a. Showcase good examples of increased student participation in decision making processes to facilitate peer learning through them.
  • .4.c.b. Advocate for students’ and students’ unions being included in developing National Skills Strategies and implementing the actions laid out in the New Skills Agenda for Europe.

4.d. Multiple Purposes of Higher Education (Strategic priorities 2015-2017 4.d.)

As a cross cutting issue, ESUs views on the multiple purposes of higher education shall be integrated in the work throughout the clusters.

  • 4.d.a. Advocate towards inclusion of ESU positions in the proposal on tertiary education graduate tracking mechanism developed by the European Commission.
  • 4.d.b. Give input to the Council of Europe (CoE) initiatives supporting the multiple purposes of higher education, especially regarding democratic competences.


5.    Organisational development and capacity building


5. a.  Internal strategies and structures (Strategic priorities 2015-2017 5.a.)

Internal strategies and structures shall be put in place in order to assure the smooth internal proceedings between Presidency, EC members, Coordinators and staff.

  • 5.a.a. Involve the whole EC and coordinators in policy development towards BFUG, EU, CoE.
  • 5.a.b. Take the necessary steps to assure the timely preparation of Bologna with Student Eyes.
  • 5.a.c Create an informal network between the EC and member unions on information sharing and to coordinate advocacy work related to BGUF meetings and in general on EHEA/BFUG topics.
  • 5.a.d Help and support member unions in their struggle to be heard by their ministries on issues related to the BFUG and the upcoming Ministerial Conference.
  • 5.a.e EHEA/BFUG to be one of the topic addressed at either ESC34 or BM73 seminar. Particularly the topics of New Goals and Implementation.
  • 5.a.f Prioritise the aims lined out in the financial strategy, such as neat financial management and decreasing debts towards ESU.
    5.a.g Ensure a stable situation in the secretariat and promote a productive and pleasant work environment for employed staff.
  • 5.a.h Establish a culture of feedback and follow up of fulfilment of tasks at EC meetings for EC members and Coordinators including the work regarding the buddy system.


5.b. Capacity building (Strategic priorities 2015-2017 5.a.)

Capacity building in ESU is serving the purpose of organisational development. It does not only address the (s)elected representatives, but shall as well be functioning as a support measure for the whole organisation. The field needs better definition and additional information about the Pool of Trainers in order to make it accessible and facilitating the transfer and exchange of experience, knowledge and good practice amongst our member unions.

  • 5.b.a. Encourage ESU (s)elected representatives and staff who provide training sessions to to attend external training sessions for additional input.
  • 5.b.b. Develop an effective procedure and a platform for discussing policies before events and ensure sufficient time slots for unions for sharing best practices.
  • 5.b.c. Raise awareness of cultural differences and foster openness between networks at internal meetings through training sessions.
  • 5.b.d. Explore different/new ways of capacity building in addition to the traditional ones. For example, by evaluating the use of the online platform for the Fund our Future Campaign for sharing best practices
  • 5.b.e. Find funding for training for trainers and concentrate on training for the most crucial areas which NUSes need the most.
  • 5.b.f. Promote the Pool of Trainers among members and encourage its usage.
  • 5.b.g. Develop a user-friendly environment for member unions applying for the Pool of Trainers’ support.
  • 5.b.h. ESU will support the work of member organizations in sharing information on ongoing EU policy making processes so that NUS that are willing to do so can support ESU’s work on national level.


5.c. Membership (Strategic priorities 2015-2017 5.c.,d.,e.)

  • 5.c.1 Towards a revised Membership Strategy. ESU’s membership policy became a hot topic for discussion among the Board members. The adopted Membership Strategy did not meet the expectations raised in internal motions related to membership issues. The main concern while shaping the membership policy is to communicate all the intended changes with Board members to a large extent.
  • 5.c.1.a. Work with Board inputs on the Membership Strategy from workshops and on-line consultations in order to propose the revision of the Membership Strategy at BM72.
  • 5.c.1.b.   Implement the main recommendations from the Membership Strategy at the BM73.
  • 5.c.1.c. Find a widely acceptable solution for reassessment of membership and a tool for monitoring members’ activities and compliance with ESU Statutes, if not included in Membership Strategy.



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