Education monitoring is an umbrella term for the work of the students’ unions and the students with the university and includes action on both educational and student welfare issues. The student representatives must be included in preparation and decision-making bodies in order to put the students’ point of view and to take part in decision-making. In doing so, they help to develop and improve education and the students’ situation at the university.
What can I do?
If you want to convey general viewpoints or complaints relating to the course you are on, the best way to do this is through the course valuation that is carried out after every course. You can become a student representative for a course and participate in collating the results of course evaluations. To do this, you will need to be elected by the students attending the course. Find out more under the heading Course evaluations.
If you want to convey opinions about your programme or your study situation, you can contact one of the student representatives appointed to the body responsible for your study programme. Initially you should contact the students’ union that looks after your programme, after which you can ask SLUSS about where you can put your point of view across. A list of the current student representatives can be found on the SLUSS website. Find out more about students’ unions and the various bodies at SLU that work on educational issues and student welfare issues.
If you want to be a student representative yourself:
- Join the students’ union that looks after your study programme.
- Contact the union and tell them that you are interested in becoming a student representative. Contact information and more can be found under the heading Students’ unions and on the unions’ own websites.
If you are appointed as a student representative, SLU will invite you to meetings – provided the university has been given your name and contact details. To help make your task easier, SLU provides annual training days. It is also common for you to form part of a group at the students’ union which discusses the issues you will be promoting during your time as a student representative.
What does a student representative do?
If you are appointed to represent the students on a preparation or decision-making body, you will be representing all affected students. You therefore have an important responsibility to ensure that you know as much as possible about the issues to be considered. You also need to have contact with other students in order to find out their viewpoints and opinions. When you are invited to a meeting by SLU, you will normally also receive various kinds of documentation. Some of this may be work materials, which are private and not for general distribution.
If you are unable to attend a meeting, you should notify the chairperson or secretary of the relevant body. There will normally be a deputy who can be invited if the usual representative is unable to attend. The regulations for education state that student representatives may be entitled to a separate examination if the original examination clashes with a meeting of a body on which the student is a representative.
Student representatives on a decision-making body have the same responsibility and authority as the other members. If the body makes a decision that is contrary to what you want as a student representative, you can make a reservation against the decision or request that your dissenting opinion be recorded in the minutes.
A student representative may be entitled to a fee for attending meetings. You can find out about this from the chairperson or secretary of the relevant body. Such fees are usually paid in arrears at the end of each semester.
What do the students’ unions do?
The students’ unions jointly appoint all representatives who sit on SLU bodies that work with educational and student welfare issues – in short, everywhere at faculty level and general university level where decisions are made which affect students. There is no right to student influence, however, in relation to decisions that affect individual students, which are called the exercising of authority over individuals. Within the students’ unions, there are often groups or meetings which together discuss the issues which they want to take up with the university. Find out more under the heading Students’ unions and on the unions’ own websites.
What does the law say?
Students shall be entitled to exert influence over the courses and study programmes at higher education institutions. Higher education institutions shall endeavour to enable students to play an active role in the continued development of courses and study programmes (Swedish Higher Education Act, Chapter 1, Section 4a). The students are entitled to representation when decisions or preparations are made that have bearing on their courses or programmes or the situation of students. (Swedish Higher Education Act, Chapter 2, Section 7). If the decision is to be made by only one person, information must be submitted to the student representative, who must also be consulted, in good time before the decision or the conclusion of the preparation.