During the meeting of the VMU Student Parliament, the parliamentarians discussed issues relevant to students

During the meeting of the Vytautas Magnus University Student Parliament on February 9, the parliamentarians discussed the establishment of the Vytautas Magnus University Social Fund, the declaration of a state of emergency at the university, the reasons for the decision of the Board of Appeal and the issues raised by doctoral students.

Žygimantas Menčenkovas presented “Šauksmo” in 2020-2021. a request was raised at the sittings of the parliament regarding the establishment of the Vytautas Magnus University Student Social Fund. The idea of this fund is that it would be established by the funds available to the VMU Student Representation (VMU SR) from the organization and financial support would be provided to students according to their social and material situation. Ieva Vengrovskaja, President of VMU SR, stated that VMU SR does not have a stable income that ensures the financial stability of the fund, therefore its establishment does not seem possible. VMU also ensures that social support is provided to students through regular scholarships and one-time events in the event of an unexpected situation. It was decided to postpone the question of the establishment of the fund to the next sitting, before which parliamentarians will have time to get better acquainted with the document and comment.

A discussion on declaring a state of emergency at the university was organized in the Facebook group of VMU Student Parliament members. Initiator of the discussion Ž. Menchenkovas is proposing that parliament seek a declaration of a state of emergency at the university and provide a position to the university to encourage members of the community to promote an environmentally friendly lifestyle, introduce courses in relevant sciences and become an environmentally neutral university. Parliamentarians have decided to convene a working group to discuss the issue of announcing an emergency climate change at the university. Žygimantas Menčenkovas, Ieva Vengrovskaja, Joana Gasiulytė, Emil Starodubov and Aistė Balazaitė expressed their wish to join the working group.

Aurelija Ramanauskaitė presented the issue of improving the academic English of doctoral students already raised at several meetings of the Student Parliament. Doctoral students are awarded 6 ECTS credits for language learning, but learning is complicated both by access to the subject and by the content and learning process. A survey of 69 doctoral students was conducted. Over 90 percent. PhD students want to learn academic English. The need to write scientific articles in English (87% of all respondents) and the need to present reports (81% of all respondents) are the most common motivations for learning to learn English. It can be seen from the survey that this issue is relevant and clear, so its solutions will be coordinated with the university administration.

Another issue, which has continued since the last meeting of the Student Parliament, was about the research advisor for doctoral students. Both supervising and advising a doctoral student is paid work. The supervisor of the doctoral student is given 40 hours per year for working with the doctoral student. One doctoral student is given counseling until 3 p.m. per year. According to the 2021 in April 2 d. Rector’s Order no. 154 Annex no. 1 it is observed that the hours allocated to the consultant are deducted from the number of hours allocated to the supervisor of the doctoral student, except in cases when the doctoral student is a foreigner. During the last parliament, it was decided that the doctoral students would write their position / opinion, which they presented during this parliamentary session. The president of VMU SA said that he promised to raise a discussion with the administration, expressing such a need for doctoral students. A doctoral club will be included in the discussions in the future.

Parliamentarian Justas Ivanauskas raised the issue regarding the presentation of the reasons for the decision of the Board of Appeal and the student’s right to further appeal against the assessment of the appeal of the Board of Appeal due to procedural violations. Because he had himself lodged an appeal which was not upheld and he was not informed of the reasons for the dissatisfaction and where he could go further if he did not agree with the assessment of the appeal. Therefore, J. Žukauskas proposes to edit the existing document on the provisions of the Appeals on the Assessment of Assessment Results and / or the Procedure for Reporting and to add a section on informing about the examination and conviction of the appeal and further possible actions of the appellant. It was decided that the amendments to the document, taking into account the comments made, would be formulated by the VMU SR Academic Affairs Committee and presented at the meeting of the Student Parliament.

Monika Ražauskaitė, the coordinator of the Academic Committee, is analyzing and preparing to adjust the Teacher Evaluation and Study Survey with the committee. He will share his current thoughts with the members of the Vytautas Magnus University Student Parliament and looks forward to receiving comments on how the area can be improved.

On March 10, a formal sitting of the Student Parliament will be held, where the activities and financial report of the Vytautas Magnus University Student Representation will be presented, and the president and governing bodies of the organization will be elected. Members of Parliament are invited to attend the meeting live, and the meeting will be broadcast on the Facebook account of the Vytautas Magnus University Student Representation. Current issues will be discussed by parliamentarians at the next parliamentary session in April.

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