Students make recommendations to get young Europe out of crisis
COPENHAGEN – The 23rd European Students Convention discussed employability and employment from 17 to 19 March in Copenhagen. The event, jointly organised by the European Students’ Union (ESU) and the Danish National Union of Students (DSF) resulted in the ‘Copenhagen Declaration’ – 10 recommendations for national governments on how to overcome the difficulties young graduates are faced with when finding a job.
The recommendations aim to take both the short-term situation of the economic crisis as well as the long-term targets of the EU and the EHEA into account. Allan Päll, ESU Chairperson, said: “European governments should really improve the situation for young people who are struggling to find a job and try to help them as much as they can. We hope that these recommendations will lead to better job perspective for young graduates.”
4. Erasmus. The proposed European loan scheme will not solve the problem of social mobility.
5. Constructing employability. High quality work experience opportunities are a good way of developing skills; these should be paid at least at minimum wage where other forms of support are not available. Such opportunities should not under any circumstance be used as a means of free or cheap labour, as is increasingly the case as a result of the ongoing economic crisis.
6. Education as a public good. Students need funds for living, necessary transportation, and in some cases, the payment of tuition fees. Funding should be available in an amount that makes studies, changing fields of study, and mobility possible. Education is a societal responsibility and a public good, and therefore it requires a societal investment. Institutions and governments shall be transparent regarding the use of public funds for education and mobility, and shall participate in discussions about the effectiveness and efficiency of spending behavior within higher education. The use and amount of tuition fees shall be limited.?
7. Employer responsibility. The employer is responsible for providing and supporting of the employee LLL, respecting labour rights and shall maintain open dialogue with HEIs. Internships + work places which should be of high quality and relevance.
8. Government responsibility. Governments should be responsible for guaranteeing access to the labour market and preventing discrimination. They shall provide support and grants for HEI programs to developing employability. Governments are also responsible for the development of the expanded and coherent labour markets. Governments shall initiate and mediate the dialogue between academia, government entities, business and industry to create coherent cooperation.
9. Institutional responsibility. Institutions of higher education and labor markets shall cooperate to accomplish common goals. Access to and success in higher education shall be available to all who wish to study. Business and industry shall work together with higher education in a responsible manner.
10. Students’ responsibility. The European Students’ Union, National Unions of Students, and local unions shall be responsible for developing and communicating coherent strategies regarding these issues and shall use them in lobbying activities at the institutional and national levels.
These recommendations come from the input and discussions of hundreds of delegates and experts from a variety of countries within the European Higher Education Area. The hours and weeks of work put into the process reflect the importance of these recommendations to the participating organizations, their members, and their constituencies. As such, the undersigned are dedicated to their realization with all expediency.