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Action plan for the period 2017/2018 – English

Adopted by the General Assemblyof the National Union of Students in Norway (NSO), 26. mars 2017.

The Action Plan represents the organ isation’s guidelines for prioritisation of work in the coming period. It describes which issues are currently important, in accordance with the political situation and internal processes within the organisation.

Free access to education

The parliament from 2013-2017 has challenged the free access to education. There is not a majority vote for tuition fees, however this topic is continuosly up for discussion. Some parties are considering tuition fees. NSO demands equal rights and free access to higher education for everyone, regardless of the person’s financial situation and social, structural or physical barriers. In addition, students must have their studies facilitated to their needs. There must be a greater responsibility at the national level to ensure wider recruitment and diversity in higher education. Students have different health challenges compared with the rest of the population, therefore there is a need for health services that are tailored to students with physical or mental ill health, and which enables them to complete higher education.

NSO will work for:

  • Defending the free access to education for all students in Norway.
  • Require a national strategy for recruitment and diversity in higher education.
  • To better students’ financial situation and ensure that everyone have equal opportunities to participate actively in their studies.
  • Establish the term “student-health”, and make it regarded as an independent term and to be included in the public health.

Quality in Education

The White Paper on Quality Culture in Higher Education from 2017, outlines perspectives and measures that are important for NSO to follow up in the coming period. NSO believes that higher education should be of high quality, internationally oriented, research-based and relevant to society. The strong focus on productivity and restructuring of the sector, which is based on society’s short term need for labour within specific sector or professions, should not overshadow the value of education in itself. The desire to have students’ activily participate and included in the academic communities is, and will be, a countiously priority.

NSO will work for:

  • Ensuring that political leadership in the Minstry of Education presents an overview of the need of maintance on buildings belonging to higher education institutions.
  • The revision of the long-term plan for higher education and research, with particular emphasis on the status of education being raised and seen in connection with research.
  • In cooperation with member unions, work to create a good network for the student representatives in local learning environment committees.
  • Work to achieve a comprehensive national legislation related to the students’ learning environment.

Internalisation

Whilst there seems to be an agreement that internationalisation is desirable in the Norwegian higher education, however the framework for international students in Norway is challenged. This applies both to the debate on tuition fees, but also regarding other measures that are needed in order to be an attractive country for students from all over the world. NSO believes that international students must be better included in the academic and study social environment at their institutions. An important prerequisite for mobility is an active student participation in supranational forums. NSO is an important global engager, but aims also to be an active participant in European processes where Norway participates. Both to ensure the student’s voice is heard, but also to actively influence policies that effect Norwegian students.

NSO will work to:

  • Promote the student perspective in conjunction with the EHEA ministerial meeting in 2018.
  • Continue to work on establishing a global student voice based on the Bergen Declaration 2016.
  • Work to break down barriers to internationalisation and implement good tools for inclusion of international students.

Soldarity

Where students’ rights are curtailed or threatened, NSO will stand in solidarity with the international student movement. The recent refugee crises emphasises that solidarity work is also required nationally. NSO believes it is important that those who come to Norway should be able to take make use of their skills. At the same time, it is important that we have good arrangements to help those who need it in areas where there is little or no academic freedom.

NSO will work for:

  • Work for the establishment of mobility scholarships that ensures that education is an an aid policy tool.
  • Be an engager to achieve measures and arrangements that ensure that refugees and asylum seekers quickly get into education.
  • Pass on the Students at Risk Scheme to other countries in Europe and work to make the scheme permanent in Norway.

General Election 2017

In the autumn of 2017 there is the parliamentary election in Norway, which affects NSO’s work. During previous periods, NSO has worked to influence parties’ manifestos for the coming parliamentary term. The efforts made in the period to the constitution of a new parliament and the formation of a new government, are decisive for what opportunities of impact NSO have over the next four years. Students constitute a large voting group, but there are many students that do not vote. NSO will therefore inform about the election and importance of this for the students. This work is of significance, especially for this period.

NSO will work for:

  • Increased voter-participation among students.
  • Make higher education an important issue during the election campaign.
  • Ensuring the important issues of the organisation are prioritised by the new government.

Organisation

Development of an organisation requires long-term work and continuous attention. NSO will always work to create an open, inclusive and engaging organisation. It is also important to follow up on ongoing projects that last over several periods. In the coming period, there are some areas that should be given particular attention to. As a result of many mergers and new institutional landscapes, it is important that NSO supports its members in their ongoing efforts to build and strengthen their local organisations. Furthermore, it is important that NSO actively works for inclusion, and diversity within our own organisation that reflects the composition of the student mass we represent.

NSO will:

  • Continue to work on strengthening communication between the various bodies in the
  • Follow up the work for inclusion and diversity within the organisation.
  • Identify and implement actions that ensures the organisation is managed in a more environmentally friendly manner.