The European Students' Union (ESU) is the umbrella organisation of 45 National Unions of Students (NUS) from 40 countries. The NUSes are open to all students in their respective country regardless of political persuasion, religion, ethnic or cultural origin, sexual orientation or social standing. ESU members are also student-run, autonomous, representative and operate according to democratic principles.
ESU was formerly known as ESIB – The National Unions of Students in Europe. ESU’s name and image is legally being used by ESU AISBL, BE0896.361.756, Rue de la Charité 22, 1210 Brussels (Belgium).
The aim of ESU is to represent and promote the educational, social, economic and cultural interests of students at the European level towards all relevant bodies and in particular the European Union, Bologna Follow Up Group, Council of Europe and UNESCO. Through its members, ESU represents almost 20 million students in Europe.
ESU’s mission is to represent, defend and strengthen students’ educational, democratic and political and social rights. ESU will work for sustainable, accessible and high quality higher education in Europe.
Among ESU activities are:
For more information on ESU’s policy papers, statutes, standing orders, activity reports Plans of Work visit ESU’s policies’ page.
For each Ministerial Conference since Berlin in 2003, ESIB then ESU publishes an analysis on the Bologna Process that is part of the stakeholders communications.
In addition to the analysis "Bologna With Student Eyes", ESU annually publishes Policy Papers that address various topics. These Policy Papers clarifies the position of students reprensetatives on several topics addressed by the BFUG. In the policy paper 'ESU's vision on European Higher Education Policies', the organisation presents its general view on Higher Education and on the main European developments on Higher Education, including the Bologna Process and the future of the European Higher Education Area.
ESU's vision on European Higher Education Policies'
Since the beginning of the Bologna Process the National Unions of Students in Europe (ESIB) an then the European Students’ Union (ESU) has played a significant role in the conception and implementation of the Bologna Process goals.
In 2001, ESIB asserts in the Policy Paper "Student participation in the European Higher Education area" the necessity of involving students representatives as equal partners:
"As co-operation on educational issues keeps increasing, so should the students’ influence on the process. [...] Student involvement is a key factor for the development of a diverse, high quality and democratic Higher Education."
In 2003, ESIB Policy Paper "New Challenges for a wider perspective on the future of the EHEA" focuses on the new challenges that HE is facing in the creation of a wider common European Higher Education Area. It is primarily concerned with promoting the student opinion of and within this process. It considers the present situation and offers a common student vision on the continuation of the process of creating this European Higher Education Area.
For 18 months up until April 2008, ESU was coordinating a major European Commission-funded campaign centred around the European Qualifications Framework (EQF).
European Qualifications Framework
Towards an European Qualifications Framework 2008
In 2008, with "Towards 2020 - A Student-Centred Bologna Process" ESU wants to make a contribution to the further development of the Bologna Process in a critical but constructive way and suggests concrete steps for progress on relevant topics.
In 2009-2010, the joint European Students' Union / Education International project "Time for a New Paradigm in Education: Student Centered Learning" (T4SCL) is based on the long-standing need to clarify and deepen the understanding of the academic community and policy makers' of the practical implications of the recent paradigm shift from teacher to student centered learning.
Student Centred Learning: An Insight into Theory and Practice
Survey Analysis Time For Student Centred Learning
At the European Student Summit in Vienna in March 2010, ESU presented its account of ten years of the Bologna Process.
ESU - Bologna at the Finish Line
In 2011, ESU makes a "Statement on Bologna Process towards 2012" and comes with a set of concrete proposals for the future of the Bologna Process and the functional establishment of a European Higher Education Area.
In the Bologna cycles 2018-2020 and 2021-2024, ESU co-chairs the BFUG Working Group on Social Dimension, which has led the EHEA to approve the Principles and Guidelines to Strengthen the Social Dimension of Higher Education in the EHEA and is currently working in establishing the set of monitoring indicators. Furthermore, ESU has been designated as the representative of the Consultative Members within the Drafting Committee for the Rome 2020 and Tirana 2024 Ministerial Communiques.