European higher education staff and students' unions have expressed agreement that higher education should move further towards the needs of the student. This is a key finding from the survey by the European Students' Union (ESU) and the staff union Education International (EI).
ESU chairperson, Ligia Deca, said: "The shift from a teacher to student-centered approach needs better follow-up of each student. This requires greater resources for academic activity as well as for social student support services. Initiatives from higher education institutions, students and teachers, to change attitudes is long overdue within European higher education."
The survey also found that while no higher education staff union thought staff attitudes were a problem, more than one-in-three students' unions found negative staff attitudes were a barrier to student-centered learning.
EI Deputy Secretary General, Monique Fouilhoux, said: "This survey highlights structural problems that require more resources to support the growing demands being placed on academic staff. At a time when student numbers are growing but staff numbers are declining, individual states and institutions must take responsibility for providing support to ensure student-centered learning is possible."
"EI will persist in its efforts to provide more opportunities for dialogue between students and teachers. This is essential for progress in the cultural change in academia."
The full results of the survey, along with a theory and practice report, were presented on May 21 in Bucharest, Romania, at the launch of: Time for a paradigm change: student centered learning. This was a joint conference between ESU and EI where 80 students and teachers gathered for four days to discuss different challenges to achieving student-centered learning.
You can download the survey here.