YVote2014 Convention on Research, Education and Mobility in Kraków

These are days of uncertainty. The crisis threatens to make Europe a smaller and darker place. What is the future of education in Europe? What can we do to improve it? In the Y- Vote Convention on Education, Research and Mobility organized by AEGEE-Kraków (from the 4th to the 9th of march0) some responses were given.

Erasmus +
The convention began with the new Erasmus+ program for 2014-2020, which became effective on January 1, 2014 and has caused great confusion. The main novelties are the unification of the old programs of formal and informal education Youth in Action, Erasmus, Comenius, etc. and its extension to sports education and vocational training, as well as greater opportunities for agreements with partners outside the EU. It is expected that the new Erasmus will simplify the paperwork for new agreements, to ensure a more equitable system of scholarships and to reach the entire European population (students, teachers, workers, etc.).
Following this, the importance of mobility programs and the need of institutional support was discussed. The wide range of social and personal skills they provide are useful when entering the labor market. In addition, cultural exchange and knowledge of reality they provide are vital for a united, educated and democratic Europe.

Quality of Education
Then, the discussion focused on “quality of education ” and the need for an education that meets the needs of the individual and society despite cutbacks situations under the excuse of the crisis. Education is not a cost: it is an investment.
Regarding the normal, non-formal and informal learning, it is also necessary to improve the poor recognition caused by public authorities and companies and the lack of tools to measure it.

“Visit” of MEPs
A visit of two Polish MEPs was scheduled for a colloquium. To everyone’s disappointment, they did not come, alleging scheduling problems. So we had to throw our questions about the European policies to their assistants. We got the feeling that there are going to be only a few solutions from the highest levels and that the Erasmus generation will have to make a change, so that working on platforms like AEGEE in the near future will become more important than ever.

Students Agenda for Europe
During the last few days of the event, we wrote the final document which will be presented to the next European Parliament: the recommendations for Students Agenda for Europe.
The process started with identification problems within the competence of the EU and then the proposition of feasible, concrete and clear solutions.

Y Vote?

Lately, disappointed by the political situation that led to disaffection of young people regarding the system, rather than in rebellion, had resulted in disinterest in politics. Why vote? Because in the Parliament the future is decided. Your future. Our future. You can decide with your vote. If you do not vote, no one else will decide for you. Vote. And even if you disagree with all political options and even with the same system, do not make abstention: vote spoiled ballot-paper. Abstention is just to renounce to a right. Voting is to decide. Decide.

More European
It was not just a meeting on education but also on Europe and its people. Every day and night, the great organisers of AEGEE-Krakow showed us the charm of their city, the university capital of Poland. It took us a week to learn about the customs, the past and the dreams of the others. And about ours.

And the last night came. Find the missing sock across the room. Zips. “I have to spend the last zloty: let’s go for beer!” Then a shower and the European Night.
And back to your city. But only to your city. Because all the time you were at home.

On May 25, do not forget to vote in the European Elections.

Written by Javier González Moreno (AEGEE-León).
Pictures courtesy of Karina Kubis (AEGEE-Kraków) and Karolina Kubala (AEGEE-Kraków).