Молодежное правозащитное Движение


Interview, Magnus Malnes

Please introduce yourself. Describe briefly your activities in the field of students rights and students initiatives (whether in the past or present).
I'm Magnus Malnes, and I'm active as an elected representative in the European Students' Union (ESU) and have my background from the National Union of Students in Norway (NSO). In the last two years I have largely been working with students and human rights issues on international level, and higher education policy on European level. Both ESU and NSO has been actively working on coordination and cooperation of the student movement on global scale by arranging meetings and following up political priorities together with international, regional and national student organisations from all continents. In this context, cooperation on students rights issues and fostering international solidarity was the main priority.

In your opinion, does the Student Movement exist today: in your country and in the world in general?
What is it like? What is its role?

The student movement is very much alive in almost all countries of the world, either on local, national or regional level. In Norway and almost all European countries there is one or more well structured national unions of students, and the majority of these are members of ESU. In Norway the National Union of Students and the local student unions are the backbone of the student movement and taking part in almost all discussions regarding higher education, student welfare and the governance of Higher Education Institutions. As compared to many countries I think the role of the student union in Norway is rather well established, though at the same time we have a lot to learn from other countries in raising the awareness and engagement of all students, I'm afraid that sometimes Norwegian students can become a bit pacified from the debate about higher education in Norway and Europe. From what I experience in a lot of other countries, the student movement is heavily engaged both in educational issues, such as the cutbacks of public funding of higher education and increasing of tuition fees, as well as important students rights issues such as the right to participate in university governance, freedom of speech and freedom of association.

How do you imagine the future of the Student Movement (if it does have a future:))?
I think the organised form of national union of students will continue to develop in several years to come. Even though most countries have national unions of students, the level of capacity and involvement varies a lot in different countries and regions. To boost this development and keep up with the urgent need of a strong student movement in a long list of countries, the well established unions should be encouraged to cooperate and be partners in student union development.

What people, events or places do you associate with the Student Movement?
With "Student Movement" I think of the students taking the most difficult challenges in their countries when it comes to human and students rights. In countries where the right to associate and the higher education situation can be very challenging such as in Colombia, Iran, Zimbabwe and Belarus, the role of the student movement is crucial both for the sake of students and for the sake of the countries future. The importance of strengthening international solidarity and cooperation between students engaged in the student movement under tough conditions cannot be stressed enough.


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