Students are not consumers

Challenging marketization and the logic of profit in higher education

8 March 2018, 14h30 – 18h30

 European Parliament, Room ASP 1 G 02


Higher education systems are confronted with many challenges, both at national and European level. Although the renewed EU Agenda for Higher Education welcomes progress made by European universities in expanding access to Universities from a bigger number, this is clearly not enough: widening access should go hand in hand with a questioning on the very essence of education. 

As GUE/NGL, we are worried by the growing of for-profit orientation and market-driven considerations in planning and delivering the education system. In particular, the profit dimension of higher education should be carefully monitored and limited. In many countries, Universities are not adequately taking account the diverse disciplinary and interdisciplinary landscape and European institutions are lagging behind. It is vital that education supports young men and women in acquiring abilities and developing experiences enabling them to be citizens making a positive social impact. If skills development is central to universities’ missions and to the future of Europe, the abilities we are building today should have appropriate instruments and policy incentives for keeping a strong public dimension in education. 

Building on previous conversations on “Quality Education for all” (September 2017), MEPS of the CULT committee would like to broadening up our collective reflection on policies, initiatives and visions to ensure education remains a common good. European higher education systems need a fresh twist and a frank discussion on dangers related to course cuts, fees, students’ marketisation and increasing link to businesses.

This event aims to share perspectives and concerns and discuss with researchers, teachers, activists and CSOs on the situation of higher education across the EU. It will shade a light on transformative examples and experiences fighting for a better and more equal education system.  

Co-hosted by CULT Committee MEPs: Nikolaos Chountis, Liadh Ní Riada, Curzio Maltese and Martina Michels. 



14.30 : Reception of guests and speakers

14.45 – 15.00: Introduction by Curzio Maltese, MEP

15.00 – 16.30: “Alternative voices and experiences from Member States”

        Moderated by: Martina Michels, MEP 

Girolamo de Michele, teacher and writer 
Isabelle Vandre, Member of (state) parliament in Brandenburg, spokesperson for higher education/university, science and research policy 
Cimon Anastasiadis, Professor at Dept. of Electronic Engineering at Technological Educational Institute of Athens
Valeria Pinto, professor of theoretical philosophy University of Naples “Federico II”

16.30 – 17.00: Q&A session

17.00 – 17.30: “The EU response: what’s missing?” 

        Moderated by Nikolaos Chountis, MEP

Natalie Schäfer, Member of executive board of fzs (Voluntary association of student representatives)  
Helge Schwitters, President of European Students’ Union  

Lucie Susova, Education and Lifelong Learning Coordination, SOLIDAR Foundation


17.30 – 18.00: Q&A session

18.00 – 18.15: Closing remarks 

*** The conference is followed by a cocktail reception***

To register please click here

For more information please contact: [email protected]