Use the next year to improve education mobility
The United Nation’s International Year of Youth started today, on the International Day of Youth (August 12). “Students and youth in general are a crucial part of every community and deserve an investment into their personal learning paths to become active citizens. In particular, we hope to see better possibilities for people to move freely between education systems, in order to shift towards a real open-border Europe”, says ESU Chairperson Bert Vandenkendelaere.
“In Europe, we need a stronger effort to improve the access to and quality of our higher education for the benefit of the future society. We hope that Youth on the Move can be the start of a bigger contribution, both political and financial, from all the European member states to that open-border education area”, says Vandenkendelaere.
Youth on the move is one of the flagship initiatives of the European Union’s so-called EU 2020 strategy, which was adopted by the European Council in June. The strategy aims at improving Europe’s economy by, among other things, strengthening knowledge, creativity, and innovation as drivers of future growth in the EU. The Youth on the Move initiative will be launched on September 15.
“Apart from the Erasmus programme, we have not seen impressive efforts to improve the mobility of students in Europe. It is time that countries match their commitments with clear measures that do not require additional contributions from the students.
“We see mobility as a social lift, which should empower young people from lower social-economical backgrounds. In order for this to become a reality, we need also to think on adequate support mechanisms to make mobility reality for them”, says Vandenkendelaere.
ESU was one of the drivers behind the Bologna Process goal of 20 per cent mobile students in the European Higher Education Area by 2020. The target was adopted in 2009 by the education ministers in Europe.
“We continue to see obstacles such as fees and other financial constraints, lack of social and institutional support for foreign students, and bureaucratic jungles that sometimes seem to have no exit. And when students go back to their home country, their stay abroad is sometimes not even recognised by the university that sent them abroad, let alone by employers”, says Vandenkendelaere.
Read more about the International Year of Youth here.