Tuesday the LSVb and ISO organised a debate with EU commissioner T. Navracsics, minister M. Bussemaker and students. Three different topics were point of discussion, namely skills and labour market, EU citizenship and innovative education. These different topics were introduced by Rob Fastenau, dean of Open and online education at Delft University of Technology, Susana Menéndez board member of The Hague University of Applied Sciences and Simone Buitendijk, Vice-president of Leiden University. The introductions provided enough food for thought for an interesting and lively discussion between everybody present.
Bussemaker started her introduction by saying that education should stay a matter of national legislation within the European Union. ‘Higher education is not a development program but it is an international responsibility’. For her, labour market and skills will be the main focus during the EU presidency of the Netherlands. Simone Buitendijk said that there remains a need for campus education in the 21st century, so open and online education will not mean the end of classroom interaction between people physically present. In the discussion on EU citizenship, Susana Menéndez said that higher education should do more than just educate people for the labour market. Citizenship and Bildung are needed for a learning society. Navracsics agreed with Susana: ‘Universities are an European intervention, as are democratic values. These values are needed in higher education everywhere.’
We would like to thank minister Bussemaker and EU commissioner Navracsics for making this interesting debate possible. We hope that this discussion will be a starting point for more discussion between students and policy makers during the EU presidency of the Netherlands.