WIT SU President Michelle Byrne attended the European Students Convention to discuss recent and future developments in higher education in Bratislava
WIT Students' Union (WITSU) President Michelle Byrne recently attended the 32nd European Student Convention (ESC). The event was held in Bratislava, Slovak Republic, between 30 September and 2 October to reflect on education and skills for the future of Europe.
The ESC is a biannual event organised by the European Students' Union where students’ representatives from the national unions of students from 38 different European countries, other stakeholders, experts and policy-makers have the opportunity to meet and discuss about the recent and future developments of higher education.
This year's conference centred around 3 themes:
- The interlinks between formal, non-formal and informal learning.
- Recognition of education as an instrument to broaden participation in education and communities.
- Students’ views on employability and skills policies.
Through interactive workshops and informal discussions, student activists reflected on these themes. The New Skills Agenda for Europe, and the implementation of Erasmus+ and the Council of Europe’s Reference Framework of Competencies for Democratic Culture, are some examples of what was discussed at the event. Student activists also looked at the tension between education and the labour market. A general agreement was that the role of education is to provide learners with competencies and skills to understand the job and its future developments, instead of focusing on specific short-term needs of the labour market.
Following the convention, Michelle Byrne, WITSU President, said, "Speaking with Students' Unions from 38 different countries has really opened my eyes to the diversity of education and learning across Europe. There were great discussions around formal, non-formal and informal learning as well as recognising different types of skills. I have taken away a great deal from my time at the European Students Convention that will be useful for discussion on local and national levels."
More information about the European Students Convention can be found on the European Students’ Union website: https://www.esu-online.org/