In 2023, SYL has been considering how to improve the role of student representatives in administrative roles in order to increase the impact of students and increase the number of applications. The work has resulted in a paper with recommendations on materials, meeting practices, compensation, etc.
The paper was developed in cooperation with the student unions. The results of a survey commissioned as a basis for this work show that, for example, meeting practices, paid compensations and the number of credits for student representation vary widely between universities. The survey also showed that the number of applicants for student representatives has been declining, especially since the COVID-19.
“It is clear that income cuts and tighter study timetables have also affected the amount of time students have available for organisational and advocacy work. Safeguarding student democracy is one of the many reasons why students need a decent income. But before that, we can pick the low-hanging fruit, i.e. improve the status of students in line with the recommendation paper,” says the member of the SYL board Jenni Suutari.
Measures to promote inclusion and make advocacy work more attractive are particularly important as the number of applicants for student representatives has been falling in recent years. According to the recommendation paper:
- Universities should make meetings of statutory governing bodies and their preparatory bodies an acceptable reason for absence from teaching.
- Student representatives should receive compensation for all meetings of governing bodies and other meetings that require the attendance of all members. The amount of the compensation shall be based on the responsibility, the demanding nature of the task and the workload involved.
- Foundation-based university boards must include representatives from all community groups.
- The tripartite principle should be observed among the presidency of the collegium and the consistory.
Read SYL’s recommendations for improving the role of student representatives in administrative roles here!
Board Member, SYL
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