The validation conference of the joint campaign organized by Education International and the European Student Union, “Let’s Go! Where to now?”, is being held in Villeneuve d’Ascq, France.
The campaign, launched earlier in November 2007, is supported by the European Union's Lifelong Learning Programme (LLP) and aims to achieve full freedom of movement for higher education staff and students in Europe.
The two-day conference was opened by EI’s Vice President, Patrick Gonthier, and was first addressed by Jean-Claude Dupas, President of the University of Lille 3, where the event is being held. Dupas welcomed all 120 participants and stated that the full mobility of higher education staff and students should be achieved for the simple fact that “we all live within the same European space” and that same space should include higher education. Vice Mayor of Villeneuve d’Ascq, Aissi Faustin, also welcomed the participants and he extended the greetings of Mayor Gérard Caudron.
EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen, next addressed the participants. He remarked that the obstacles facing the question of mobility are numerous and it demands more than teacher and student organisations to challenge these obstacles. He made specific reference to the publication called Mobility Barometer, written by Dr. Conor Cradden, which will be launched later in the day. “Our aim is to have a strategic Bologna-wide plan put forward jointly by staff and students to the European Ministerial Conference to be held in April next year in Belgium,” he said. “so that concrete actions can be taken, especially at the financial level, by all national governments and institutions”.
Ligia Deca, Chairperson of ESU, gave a brief outline of the actions that have taken place since the launch of the campaign. “The overall goal that the ESU has is to have 20% mobility among students by 2020,” she concluded.
The participants were next addressed by the founding president of the European University Association, Eric Froment. “It is difficult to argue against staff and student mobility, especially when one important role of higher education institutions is to be in constant dialogue with one another,” he stated.
“However, it is impossible to move on without a true discussion at the level of the Bologna Follow-Up Group on the social dimension of the Bologna Process”.
The achievement of full mobility for staff and students in the higher education sector in Europe is one of the key focuses of EI’s work in the sector. The issue of mobility is also one of the chief issues highlighted in the realization of the Bologna Process, which calls for the coordination of higher education in Europe (comprising 46 countries, both European Union member and non-member states).
Both EI and ESU developed a website for the campaign and the online petition addressed to national governments of the countries involved in the Bologna Process has already received thousands of signatures. The Mobility Barometer, which featured the situation of staff and student mobility in each Bologna country, is also available on the site.
For more information about the campaign, please visit: www.letsgocampaign.net