European Students’ Union Fringe

Introduced by the president of Warwick this event claims to address the problems facing students across Europe as well as identify the key actors. Speakers include: Bert Vandenkendelaere, Chairperson of the ESU, George Konstantinos Charonis, ESU Academic Affairs Committee, Christina Yan Zhang, NUs Internatinal Students’ Officer, Joy Elliott, NUS International Students’ Committee.

Christina Yan Yang, NUS International Students’ Officer, will be the first speaker.

“There have been lots of issues as to how the UK can participate in the Bologna process.” Zhang says that at the moment only around one percent particpate in foreign exchange progrmas, whereas countries such as Germany already send around fourty percent.

“We probably need to go back to our universities and discuss the issues around the Erasmus fee waiver.”

She now hands over to Bert Vandankendelaere, chairperson for the ESU.

ESU began in 192 in Stockholm. Bert continues to give a brief history of the ESU.

ESU now represents over 11 million students with 45 member unions.

ESU represents students at the UNESCO World HE Forum, within the OECD, the European Commission, the Council of Europe, as well as other international organisations.

Bert is now about the speak about the Bologna process. The goal of the Bologna process, according to Bert, is to align the systems of Higher Education within Europe.

Bert asks the crowd if they can explain about the process. One student comes to the front to speak. After he has spoken Bert says, “you didn’t say anything wrong.”

Bert highlights that the agreement between countries regarding HE is not binding. The aim is to break down the border between European countries when it comes to Higher Education.

We are now more than ten years into the Bologna process. Although much has been achieved, Bert is quick to add that there is much still to do. There are many problems around language and proceedure that could go as far as to see the demise of the Bologna process by 2015.

However,  there are still targets that are looking to be met. By 2020 the share of 30-34 year olds with tertiary education should be at least 40 percent.

He also says there is a need to improve the mobility of students. In the UK only 0.8 percent of students travel abroad for education.

The next speaker is now raising problems in certain countries that are facing students. For example in Belarus students can be arrested for organising. ESU passed The Budapest Declaration to try and put education as a social good back at the centre of policy. This is particularly important with regard to HE funding, where one of the problems is the descrepency between National and International goals because while international agreements might be made, national policy is often not affected.


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