Nordic and Baltic students call for recommitment to maintain higher education as a public good

We, the national unions of students in the Nordic and Baltic countries, fear that the Nordic welfare system, social mobility and justice are threatened. The introduction of tuition fees, the increase of existing fees and cuts in higher education are a reality in the majority of European countries. It is by now obvious that Europe-wide austerity measures are prohibiting new growth.

Maintaining and increasing access to higher education is necessary in the Nordic and Baltic countries for building a knowledge society and securing continued prosperity. In this, public investment in higher education is crucial. The EU2020 strategy recognizes higher education as an important driver of economic growth and new innovations. This must be remembered especially in times of economic downturn.

The Nordic and Baltic countries have made significant progress in the field of stimulating innovation and building a knowledge-based society by granting equal access to education for all socio-economic groups. By introducing tuition fees we create barriers that restrict access to higher education and turn students’ focus towards making ends meet rather than focusing on their studies. Education is not only a means to harness the potential of human resources, but it also provides a strong foundation for creating a sense of solidarity in society and encourages civic participation.

Internationalisation is vital for both science and society. The implementation of tuition fees for students coming from outside the EU/EEA-countries dramatically decreases the number of incoming students and risks homogenizing the composition of the incoming student body. It is also the starting point for turning education into a commodity. Promoting the Nordic and Baltic region as a socially just area with a high standard of equality will attract international students. Our societies need such highly educated professionals to contribute to the prosperity and development of our region.

Nordic and Baltic students believe that higher education should be tuition free and equally accessible to all. We demand continued commitment to higher education as a public good.

NOM (Nordiskt Ordförande Møte)

Danske Studerendes Faellesråd (DSF)
Eesti Üliõpilaskondade Liit (EÜL)
Latvijas Studentu apvieniba (LSA)
Lietuvos studentų sąjunga (LSS)
Norsk Studentorganisasjon (NSO)
Suomen ammattikorkeakouluopiskelijakuntien liitto (SAMOK)
Sveriges Förenade Studentkårer (SFS)
Studentarad Haskola Islands (SHI)
Suomen ylioppilaskuntien liitto (SYL)

The NOM meeting was held in Helsinki 26-28th of October 2012.

NOM (Nordiskt Ordförande Møte) is a cooperating network consisting of the Nordic and Baltic national umbrella-organizations for students in higher education. NOM first convened in Aarhus, Denmark in 1946 and meets twice a year to discuss and work on common challenges students face.

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