Federation of Estonian Student Unions (EÜL) main goal is to represent students’ interests on national level. Their main issues are student rights, educational and social issues. The vision of the Federation of Estonian Student Unions is that higher education would be accessible to everyone regardless of their economic situation and that higher education in Estonia would be of better quality and respond to student’s expectations.
In order to influence the formulation of education policies, they communicate and cooperate with educational establishments, government agencies, ministries, the parliament, political parties and other advocacy organizations. More specifically, they present our own studies and analyses in order to convince decision makers to take action in the interest of students. They also put pressure on decision makers through the public opinion and by informing students and involving them into this process. To make higher education accessible to everyone regardless of their economic situation, and to improve the quality of higher education in Estonia, they not only involve students in our work but they encourage them to take a leadership role in one of the 21 student unions in Estonia. They train their student representatives and carry out various projects with them.
Another important point with EÜL is that they fought for a multi-level student support system which indeed came to pass. Since 2013, students whose monthly income is only slightly higher than the minimum income have the chance to receive partial financial support as well. Also starting from 2013, university programs taught in Estonian are now for free for full time students – a change EÜL had been fighting for a long time. Last but not least, the state funding for higher education has increased – which is another goal of EÜL. To improve the quality of higher education, EÜL works closely with student representatives to find out more about the needs of students in Estonia. Together with trained student unions in universities all over Estonia, EÜL consults thousands of students every year. Student representatives are elected every year for both specific departments and universities in general.
To finance these activities, EÜL sells the internationally accepted ISIC card to high school students, university students and teachers. Owners of the ISIC card can make use of more than 40.000 different discounts in more than 125 countries. With the ISIC card, EÜL not only reduces the costs students are facing today and therefore makes it easier for them to attain higher education, but it also generates entrepreneurial income which is invested in advocacy work for the students.
Federation of Estonian Student Unions is a great example of not only cooperating internationally, but being a part of global value chain, financing important national activities with representing a well-recognized international brand!