Brussels, let’s get to work
April 17, 2009, 12:20 am
Filed under: education, Y Vote 2009 | Tags: , , , ,

Dear MEPs, in case you are in need of extra guidance concerning education policy, here is the YVote expert-panel:

The conclusions of WG3 can be found HERE

We’re not alone…
April 11, 2009, 9:40 am
Filed under: Y Vote 2009 | Tags: , , , ,

This morning we had a visit a from two ladies behind the websites and I took a small tour of their site, and as it turns out they have published a movie that is of great concern to this YVote convention: The Bologna process: privatise universities? (unfortunately it could not be embedded).

Can You Hear Me Europe?
April 10, 2009, 10:50 am
Filed under: Y Vote 2009 | Tags: , ,

It was already mentioned during one of our sessions: MTV has gotten involved in the election campaign. Through television advertisement and an interactive website MTV intends to get their watchers active in the political process, or at least to think a little bit more about what the future. Since many first-time voters are very likely to hold on to their voter-virginity, the music channel might be a good medium to approach this group. However, the campaign is a little bit thin on content.
Besides creating awarness the project does not seem to serve an informational purpose. “A little more information about the different parties would be good”, requests #marcusbparsons. And although the header “Discussion” on the website implies otherwise, the shown Twitterfeed does not provide the reader with a lot of elaborate arguments. “I will be voting for the party to pull us out of the EU the fastest”, says #tito2520. Still, the project could most certainly generate some interest among a group of otherwise hard to reach voters. “As a 20 year old, I can easily say that the majority of people my age just don’t know how th EU can and does effect their life” confirms #Celtic_Cub the sentiments that are present, or rather, absent, among his peers. It is a laudable effort of MTV to try to make something boring into something sexy. A difficult task, since that is something EU politics most definitely is not.

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Mats Siffels

“Excellent teaching should be rewarded.”

At one of the panel debates Dr. Liviu Matei from the Central European University made an interesting suggestion to the crowd of students.
The issue: Most universities have not sufficiently adapted their programmes and teaching to facilitate Lifelong Learning. Therefore, in most cases, adults wanting to follow training on an academical level are most of the time still at a disadvantaged position compared to their younger colleagues.
Dr. Liviu’s recommendation: In the same way as it is common in the academical community to reward research-related achievements, teaching achievements should also be rewarded on a European level. Such an award could possibly stimulate the efforts on the side of the academical teachers to share their knowledge with everybody who is willing to learn; not only the adults-in-training, but also the real ones.

“We do not bring MEPs here for you to listen to them, but for them to listen to you”– European Students get involved.
April 9, 2009, 11:12 am
Filed under: education, Y Vote 2009 | Tags: , , , , ,

Just like in real university, the front row is completely empty, the temperature in the room is a little bit too high, and sometimes you catch yourself dozing of into the far distance while looking out of the window. However, unlike real university, at the YVote held in Budapest the students did not come just to listen to professors who have for long forgotten what it is like to be a student; at YVote on Education students from all over Europe have come to share ideas with eachother, listen to different studying experiences and hopefully come up with a number of recommendations for the actual politicians to work with. A large number of MEPs have declared to endorse the initiative, and some of them will drop by during one of the panel discussions that will be held during the week. However, as AEGEE president and one of the initiators of the project, Dragan Stojanovski said “We do not bring the MEPs here so you can only listen to them, but also so they can listen to you”.
The first day was mainly used to get familiar with the topic and identify the problems. After a word of welcome by the hosts form the Central European University, the group was split up in several smaller working groups. Instead of wandering through a sunny Budapest, the participants disappeard in one of the study rooms to tackle the issues at hand under the guidance of a knowledgeable facilitator and with the blessings of University-founder George Soros. During a panel debate later on the day Prof. Ildikó Hrubos would confirm the necessity of the re-thinking of educational policy in Europe; based on a Unesco report it was safe to say that “Higher education is in crisis. There are more students coming every year, and there is less money.” Although the atmosphere of educational crisis does not seem to have hit the participants, students are critical consumers. And rightfully so.

Dragan Stojanovski & Prof. Ildikó Hrubos

Dragan Stojanovski & Prof. Ildikó Hrubos

During the working groups, the facilitators had tried to get the participants to start thinking about the bottlenecks of the European education policy and the Bologna Process. Although in an environment as international as this one it is hard to imagine, the issue was frequently raised that people did not want to leave their country to study in another one, the so-called Erasmus period: staying at home would save them money, paperwork and a lot of hang-overs. Those who went abroad and had a great time, nonetheless confirmed that an ECTS credit does not seem to have the same value all over Europe and that there still are autonomous professors who do not believe that the level of education at other universities abroad is sufficient and hence refuse to grant you the points you worked (so hard) for.



Furthermore, issues were raised about the content of higher education in Europe. According to some the BaMa-structure had proven to be inefficient, and the lack of training in practical skills and how to actually apply your knowledge was criticised. Something i experienced first hand while attending one of the working groups. When the facilitator asked if any of the parctipants studied European Studies, I truthfully raised my hand. Assuming this to be basic stuff he remarked that in that case I would probably know the Open Method of Coordination (OMC) on education. Well I didn’t.
During a panel debate at the end of the day the students could test their new insights and their own opinions against the expert opinion of professor Ildikó Hrubos from the Corvinus University.
The front row was still empty, the temperature still to high and I actually caught myself while dozing off for a few seconds, but just on time a new debate would emerge and provide a fresh breeze in the room.
Mats Siffels

A day at YVote Budapest
April 9, 2009, 10:23 am
Filed under: Y Vote 2009 | Tags: , , ,

Additional material on EP-campaign
April 8, 2009, 4:54 pm
Filed under: Y Vote 2009 | Tags: , , ,

Today Gabor Scalai from the EP Representation in Hungary provided a session on the campaigning efforts of the Parliament.

Mr. Gabor Scalai

Mr. Gabor Scalai

The promotional material he showed was already released a while ago and  has already been thoroughly scrutinised (here and here) by the EU blogosphere. And for those who are not motivated by the issues that are being raised in the official package, Cedric Puisney has created a set which is little bit more controversial: