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COUNCIL OF EUROPE
Directorate of School, Out-Of-School And Higher Education, Higher Education and Research
Division
and
PEOPLES’ FRIENDSHIP UNIVERSITY OF RUSSIA
INTERNATIONAL SEMINAR
MAKING THE EUROPEAN HIGHER EDUCATION AREA A
REALITY: THE ROLE OF STUDENTS
Making Higher Education Area a Reality:
Role of Student Organizations
by Tatsiana Khoma
ESIB – the National Unions of Students in Europe
Moscow, November 2-3, 2006
ESIB – the National Unions of
Students in Europe
●
●
45 member National
Unions of Students
from 34 countries in
Europe
Representing more
than 10 mln European
Students
●
Was founded in 1982
to promote the
educational,
economic, cultural,
social and political
interests of students
in Europe
Role of Student
Organizations
●
●
●
●
●
Role of students and student organizations;
Areas of student interest;
Areas of ESIB concern;
Criteria for student organizations;
Conclusions.
Role of Students
●
Students are...
●
●
biggest stakeholder in higher education
center of the learning process: no students – no
universities
●
Factor of innovation, growth and development
●
Investment of the society its the future
●
promoters of active citizenship, equality, democracy
and the rule of law
European Students Rights
Charter – Student Involvement
●
●
●
●
●
●
... the right to organize themselves freely in legally
recognized entities...
... right to participate in all decision-making bodies
and for a relevant to their education...
... the right to be informed about all higher education
affairs in a transparent manner...
... the right to have their opinion considered as that of
an equal stakeholder in higher education...
... right to freely express themselves and this should
not be limited to academic matters...
... the right to participate as equal partners in
continual assessment
Student organizations are...
●
●
... the point of reference for student interests
for non-student actors in student related issue
... central actor in a round-table on everything
related to students
Areas of interest

Students' rights

Governance in Higher Education

Students' well-being

Quality assurance

Students' mobility

Equality within higher education


Reforms of HE and processes bringing changes
(BP, LP, etc.)
Etc...
Students' Rights


Overarching issue
Making students' rights legal at both national and
European level

European Students' Rights Charter

Draft document can be found at www.esib.org
Students Well-being



Reaching optimal study conditions for all
students;
Is an issue of mutual interest for students and
the society;
One of the central focus for student
organizations at all level.
Governance and decision-making


“Efficiency in governance structures might be a useful
goal, but efficiency must never mean that students,
teachers and staff are being excluded in favour of
corporate steering models for universities and
polytechnics.
Furthermore, the autonomy of institutions should be
designed in a way that gives a collective responsibility to
all stakeholders of the higher education community, not
by transferring all decision-making powers to the
university leadership.”
Governance and decision-making






Lack of legal regulations for actual student involvement, not only
consultative roles;
Lack of student involvement in formal bodies that prepare decisions;
Students are not or less involved in topics related to finances, hiring
of staff, follow up of evaluation results, issues related to study
environment, etc.;
Mentality of other stakeholders who are not used or willing to
consider students as equal partners but rather as mere users whose
opinions hardly count;
Unwillingness of governments and/or HEIs to value the opinion of
students if they are different from their own;
Lack of financial and human resources of student unions and
representatives.
Quality Assurance

Students demands to quality...



... study programs that are flexible in their
organization and possibilities of individual choices
... properly working instruments allowing for full
recognition of their qualifications and
competences
... study programs being meaningful
Student participation in QA:
Bologna with student eyes, 2005
Criteria for student organizations

be open to all students;

democratic in their structure and in their
principles;

run by students;

independent and accountable to students they
represent.
Conclusions




Role of student organizations as student
representatives is crucial;
More transparency and inclusion of students into
decision-making and quality assurance is needed;
Idea of partnership between all stakeholders is a
key to success;
Student organizations should be supported and
not prohibited from their activity.
Thank you for your attention!
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