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Therese Comodini Cachia: “Students have a say in the development of today’s policies”

Therese COMODINI CACHIA addressed students at the 30th European Students’ Convention, which took place at the European Parliament on 28 September 2015, Brussels. For more information, please see the video and the full text below:

“Dear Students,

It is always a pleasure to welcome you at the European Parliament. As I am travelling I am unable to physically join you for the opening session of the European Students’ Convention (ESC) but technology gives me the opportunity to welcome you and share my thoughts on two very important themes which you will be discussing.

Student-centred learning

Making education more inclusive thus repositioning the student in the driving seat of learning experience is the way forward to ensure that students acquire the skills they need to reach their aspirations. The ineffectiveness of teaching merely through the passive transmission of knowledge has been raised several times throughout the years by several pedagogical researchers. This has led to the proposal for a student-centred learning approach.

I am convinced that a student-centred learning approach characterised by innovative learning and teaching methods and educational strategies that link research with learning and ‘learning by doing’ can not only give students access to necessary knowledge but also provide students with transferrable skills required for them to fulfill their aspirations as well as skills needed to access new trends in the job sector.

Unfortunately, as pointed out in the Report on Follow-up on the implementation of the Bologna Process prepared by the Culture and Education Committee of the European Parliament of which I am a member, student-centred learning, is not always acknowledged as an important part of the European degree structure. As such this learning approach has not been adequately integrated into higher education programmes. At an EU level the voice of all stakeholders asking for a shift in the educational paradigm where students have a say in their learning experience needs to be strengthened.

Women in politics

I am also pleased to note that today you will be discussing the perception of women in politics and the role of the media. There is still more to be done with respect to media coverage and the perception of women compared to their male counterparts and what qualities are attributed to either women or men. The media plays an important role in portraying women in society. Unfortunately, most still commercialise the image of women and as a result perpetuate stereotypical attitudes. The media must take stock of how it portrays women and ensure that it adheres to promoting gender equality by presenting women as important contributors to society, politics and the economy. Female politicians remain a minority in a number of Member States as well as in high offices within the European Institutions. The causes for this are many, but today when there are more women graduates than men, it merely does not make sense to see so few women in leading roles even in politics. The media must stop asking women in politics, questions it would not ask men.  Such as for example:  how do you cope with your family while in politics?  or expecting women in politics to deal only with social issues rather than with technology or industry. Of course there is much to say and much to do to address the inequality that exists. The acknowledgment of such a problem from youths and students is certainly a step in the right direction. 

Final remarks

To conclude, allow me to thank the European Students’ Union (ESU) for their work. Over the past months we have held a number of events to discuss students’ views including; student mobility and entrepreneurship, and the recent launch of the Bologna with Student Eyes 2015 here at the European Parliament. As a member of the Culture and Education Committee I look forward to future collaboration and your contributions.

For me your views are extremely important because youths have a say in the developmen tof policies being made today and not only those that could be made in the future. I wish you luck in achieving the goals set forth for this convention. “

Therese COMODINI CACHIA. MEP, Group of the EPP



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