Tag: ESU

News: Establishing of ESAA met with both enthusiasm and critique

DG EAC formally announced the launch of Erasmus+ Students and Alumni Association (ESAA) this Friday, 12th of June with a kick-off conference. About 250 participants were invited, including founding associations, representatives from the European Comimsion, and stakeholder representatives who have been involved in ESAA.

The new association is supported by DG EAC and represent uniting for existing associations under one umbrella, Erasmus Student Network (ESN), Erasmus Mundus Student and Alumni Association (EMA), the garagErasmus Foundation and Erasmus+ Oceans.

The website highlights ESAA aim to  be a “dynamic platform for networking, professional development and intercultural learning while promoting European Higher Education and worldwide cooperation”. On the press site, it is also highlighted that the foreseen aim is to develop projects and improve quality of education, in addition to providing an alumni network. You can view the presentations from the launch here, where they highlight the aims of the new organization.

The Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Sport,  Tibor Navracsics, said about ESAA in the press release: “Erasmus+ is one of Europe’s flagship projects, and rightly so. Studying in another country, whether for a short or longer period, is a great experience for young Europeans: It helps them to enhance their skills as well as to understand and accept cultural and other differences. Student and alumni associations offer crucial support to help young people make the most of this opportunity – before, during and after their stay abroad. That is why I am very pleased that ESAA will help to channel this support and know-how even more effectively. I am looking forward to seeing new activities that will further improve the mobility experience, encourage networking and help promote the opportunities Erasmus+ offers to a wider audience.”

It appears that the event was marked with enthusiasm by those attending, and in social media the role of networking amongst members was frequently highlighted. For discussions and photos from the event – follow the #ESAAkickoff hashtag on Twitter.

However, the establishment of ESAA has also been met with considerable critique from ESU – the European Student Union, who has raised concerns about the representative nature of ESAA, Commission involvement in shaping a student organization and the kind of policy agenda that is being pushed.

One minute silence against violence

The European University Association (EUA), with support from the European Student Union (ESU) have called higher education institutions, student unions and other organisations across Europe to stand united for one minute silence on Monday 27th of April 2015  (12:00 CET) in remembrance of the 147 students killed at Garissa on 2 April 2015.

The role of education in military conflict and the attacks on educational institutions also led to the adoption of the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack in 2014. Read more here.


Leslie Wilson, the secretary general of EUA commented on this: “While the events in Garissa stand out in their barbarity, we draw attention to the appalling reality that attacks continue to happen every day. Attacks on universities, their students and scholars weaken or obliterate academic freedom; have a devastating impact on research, teaching and access to education; and impair society’s long-term development. Safeguarding the freedom and safety of universities and university communities is therefore vital in ensuring the advancement of knowledge and the cultural and scientific development of humankind.

Join the ESU event here

The European Student Union has also encouraged to support Kenyan Red Cross who has provided help to the survivors and families of the victims. We would also strongly encourage you to consider this.


Student Spotlight: Interview with new ESU Vice-Chairperson Erin Nordal

We are always delighted to see Hedda students to succeed. So we are particularly delighted about the news in May that Hedda master student Erin Nordal was elected as the vice-chairperson of ESU – the European Student Union. On this occasion we asked Erin a few questions about her new appointment and her views about higher education. 

Erin Nordal  (Photo: NSO)

Erin Nordal
(Photo: NSO)

First of all, congratulations on your new appointment. Could you perhaps tell a little about what your work as a vice-chairperson for ESU will be about?

Thanks so much! As Vice-Chairperson of ESU I will lead an umbrella organisation that represents 47 national unions of students in 39 different countries, in total ca. 20 million students. Together with my two colleagues in the presidency, we are responsible for managing the internal development of the organisation, working with the budget and the staff. We also have a team of 7 other elected members, and 3 members selected by our team. Much of the work we do is focused on advocating for students rights, be they social, economic, cultural or political. We travel to many meetings and events, hold our own conferences and conventions, and speak at r conferences relevant for higher education and students. With the upcoming Bologna Ministerial Meeting in Yerevan in the spring of 2015, we will be placing all efforts on advocating for our policies and contributing to the discussion of the future of the Bologna Process. We will also be working with a new commissioner of education in the European Commission, and building relationships with a new set of members of the European Parliament that were elected in May.

Student union representatives tend to come from quite varied backgrounds – what attracted you to this? Is there a particular aspect about higher education as a field that you find particularly fascinating?

I started out as an exchange student from the United States at the University of Bergen, and I became the chair of the newly established International Committee in the Student Council of the Faculty for Social Sciences, which worked on improving conditions for international students at the faculty, especially focusing on inclusion. From there I was recruited into one of the political parties of the University’s Student Parliament, and I was elected Vice-Chairperson of the Parliament within only 6 months. My interests in student representation kept growing, and a year later I was elected to the executive committee of the National Union of Students in Norway (NSO), as international officer.

How do students view quality in higher education? Results from a new survey by ESU

ESU-logoThe European Student Union (ESU) is a body representing over 11 million students through its 47 member organisations in 39 countries. ESU engages in debates about higher education in European policy arenas, but also engage in research projects relevant to student interests in higher education. One of such research projects is the Quest for Quality for Students project, or QUEST for short, funded by the European Commission and set to finish this autumn.

Fernando Miguel Galán Palomares, ESU’s Vice-Chairperson and main coordinator of the project said in the press release: “One of our goals throughout this project has been to raise awareness about the understanding of quality from students’ point of view.  QUEST has been able to perform a pan-European analysis on the students’ perceptions on the quality of higher education. The aim is to shed light on this field and to map interesting patterns that pave the way for further investigationThus, the findings can be taken into consideration and influence discussions on higher education, having a positive effect on it and improve its quality.”

The first results of the survey conducted in Germany, Latvia, Norway, Poland and Slovenia were published earlier this month in a report by Jens Jungblut and Martina Vukasovic. The project is focused around three key questions:

  • What is the students’ view on quality of higher education?
  • Do quality assurance mechanisms at European, national and institutional level actually enhance quality in the understanding of students?
  • What sort of information do students need to be provided to them in relation to what they perceive as quality education?

Student Chronicle: Knots, triangles and HEM 2012 in Brussels

This entry is written by Ljiljana Krstić who is a first year student at the Hedda Master programme in Higher Education. In this Student Chronicle, she is reflecting on the recent study trip to Brussels where they visited organisations and agencies relevant to European higher education.

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First year of HEM programme was for the most of us an attempt to disentangle and try to comprehend complex processes, mechanisms and positions of different stakeholders in the area of higher education. In order to understand several triangles that we assumed existed only in mathematics and try to solve Gordian knot we constructed around the field of HE in our minds, we decided almost unanimously to visit the heart of EU and its institutions.