The basic objective of VVS is to democratize education by supporting the students. "It is an overarching student council that represents the students on issues that are important for all high schools and universities. We act as a first point of contact for Flemish policy makers," explains Chairman Anke Van den Bergh.
"The General Assembly meets every month to discuss relevant topics or issues. Then, the various representatives of the various local student councils search for a consensus and determine the general view. Afterwards, we go with that view to authorized persons or organizations such as VLIR, VLHORA or VLOR."
Local student councils
If a student has a problem, he can contact the student council. The board decides whether the problem should be solved at the Flemish level and whether or not it should be submitted to the VVS.
"The local student council’s way of working varies from city to city. The council is responsible for local issues and often takes real action. In Ghent, for example, they planned a demonstration. There are also lectures so that everybody receives the information," says Van den Bergh.
Impact of VVS
Van den Bergh believes strongly in the impact of the VVS on the rights of the student: "If we were not here, many things would not even reach the higher authorities. For example, there was the debate on the orientation test. It’s important that students make the right choice. VLOR found that we had a very good position and so they endorsed it. That gave us support on the regional level and so we could go to the national authorities. These are all issues that might be a bit technical and abstract for an ordinary student, but they’re still very important.”
However, the problem is that there is a distance between the ordinary student and the student council or VVS. Therefore, an awareness campaign was launched. "There are posters in the various university towns and we try to be in the media as much as possible. We give the local student councils a detailed explanation about the VVS. We inform them about what we can do for them and vice versa, what they can do for us."
© 2013 – C.H.I.P.S. StampMedia – Laura Lefever