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Higher Education

Higher Education

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Higher Education

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  1. Global RCE Conference Nairobi 27 November 2013 Higher Education Abel Atiti (UNU-IAS) Marlene Mader (RCE Graz-Styria) Pablo Fuentenebro (UNEP)

  2. Agenda • Brief summary of the pre-conference online discussion • Input presentation about experiences of UNEP and GUPES by Pablo Fuentenebro • Workshop on institutionalizing successful ESD initiatives in the interface of higher education and community • Announcement of projects, events • Closing and outlook

  3. Pre-conference online discussion at the RCE portal Background and objectives • Global policies as well as local institutions are paying more attention to the scaling of sustainability initiatives (i.e. Global Action Programme on ESD, Rio+20 Treaty on Higher Education) • In preparation for the conference we aimed at identifying the demand, challenges and potentials of scaling sustainability initiatives at the science-society interface. →These insights shall provide the basis for further research on framework conditions that can support the up-scaling of science-society co-operations, hence expanding the impact towards sustainable development and taking regional and cultural contexts into consideration.

  4. Focus of the online discussion • What do you see as the most pressing sustainability challenges in your respective region where scaling can play a role? • What opportunities/potentials do universities have to engage with society in order to meet these challenges? • What is your experience in science-society collaborations? What worked well, what didn't? • Do you know any project or initiative in the science-society interface that has been scaled-up? Where do you see potentials for scaling?

  5. Summary of the online discussion Discussion about the role of African universities • Major challenges HE in Africa is facing: • Lack of graduates in science & technology studies (reason: teaching approach of science in schools is too theoretical; no relation to daily life of students) • Disconnect between HE and rural development , where most sustainability challenges are. HE must relate their research, teaching, community engagement to rural communities • High percentage of graduate unemployment →need for better collaboration between HE, society, business and industry (→ need for transdisciplinary research)

  6. Summary of the online discussion Discussion about the role of African universities (by Kenya and other African RCEs) Statement: ‘African universities are not playing a role in innovation and research.’ • Innovations in Kenya mainly come from an informal industry, where people form poor family backgrounds become entrepreneurs, innovators,artists by necessity What would be needed? • Innovation is about ‘breaking the rules’ and creating new ideas. The current HE system does not allow this (too bureaucratic and closed). • Universities or governments rarely comes up with innovative ideas – but it is individuals (within an organisation), who give the impulses. But the organisation can create an environment that stimulates individuals to be creative/innovative.

  7. Summary of the online discussion Case how universities can address societal demands and engage with various regional stakeholders (by RCE Western Jalisco): • Regional demand: to foster social participation (esp. for youth), collaborations between university and society as well as providing sustainability study programs. • Approach: Involvement of media (two radio stations), which played a crucial role in raising awareness for social and environmental issues and turned out to be a successful tool for linking university with societal concerns. • The idea of the radio programs was followed by a variety of other activities that aimed at advancing social participation and ESD; such as workshops, fairs, bike rides, etc.

  8. Summary of the online discussion Case by RCE Northern Mindanao (Philippines): • Regional challenges: priority areas, which are addressed by education: peace, governance, environment, health, food security • Collaboration with society: several university departments engage with community → ‚service learning laboratories‘; Collaboration with national and local government agencies, educational institutions, private organizations and agencies • Good experiences with community collaborations: e.g. in the fields of biofuels and bioethanol, health, integrated coastal management • Scaling opportunities/experiences: support of fishing communities by providing maps using GIS (Geographic Information System); teacher training initiatives to improve literacy levels, increase participation rates and significantly reduce drop-out rates among public school children; capability building on local governance

  9. Summary of the online discussion Case about the Knowledge Based Area Development (by RCE Greater Dhaka): • Concept for community self-reliance and ESD (Bangladesh) → access to HE for underprivileged students – includes concepts of up-scaling and mainstreaming • Through active participation of every educated individual of the society it is possible to break the vicious cycle of poverty to build up a prosperous country based on knowledge and skill. Further remarks: • Call for a holistic approach of Higher Education: besides science, HE also has a regional responsibility (to address economical, social, technical, cultural, environmental demands)

  10. Input presentation by Pablo Fuentenebro

  11. Institutionalizing Successful ESD Initiatives in the Interfaceof Higher Education and Community

  12. Workshop on how to institutionalise successful initiatives between higher education and community We will focus on the role and possibilities of HE institutions within the RCE network and how they can enable the scalability of regional sustainability initiatives. Objectives of the session: • To identify institutional practices how HE institutions or surrounding policy environments implement successful ESD initiatives • To identify further conditions that are required for institutionalizing RCE/ESD initiatives at HE institutions → how can RCEs support the transformation of HE

  13. Global strategies indicate the need for research on scaling sustainability UN Policy: • Rio+20, The Future We Want: call to break down political and global challenges to the local level (2012) • UNESCO, Global Action Programme on ESD (follow up of the UN DESD): call ‘to generate and scale-up actions in all levels and areas of education and learning in order to accelerate progress towards sustainable development’(2013) • UN Office for Sustainable Development, Framework for Action for a Sustainability Transition: call for ‘a transition towards sustainability requires efforts on several fronts, but knowledge sharing and capacity building should be the fundamental platform for these efforts’ (2013) • Development of the Sustainable Development Goals: follow up of the Millennium Development Goals → action oriented and globally applicable

  14. Global strategies indicate the need for research on scaling sustainability (cont.) • Rio+20 Treaty on Higher Education (by COPERNICUS Alliance, United Nations University, International Association of Universities): call for a transformation and more structured knowledge sharing in the HE area (2012) • Future Earth Initiative: to foster an international science-policy process; global challenges can only be solved by global research co-operations (→ call for global research funding channels) • National policy makers are seeking sources of information to learn from adaptive practices about the role higher education can play to scale sustainability initiatives (e.g. the Austrian Ministry of Science and Research)

  15. Aim to increase the impact of Higher Education towards sustainable development • Transformative higher education: call for social, institutional and systemic innovations to address global challenges • Scaling: necessity to structure and efficiently share our sustainability knowledge : • In order to be able to implement global strategies on the local level → universal knowledge needs to be applied to local and cultural contexts • Impact of local knowledge on national/global strategies (→ institutionalization) • To foster competences (→ capacity building) • Exchange and further development of sustainability initiatives and projects

  16. Time to exchange your knowledge and experiences! Discuss in small groups (ca. 3 people) an initiative or project your RCE or HE institution has undertaken in collaboration with community/society. Try to analyse the institutional impact of your initiative: • How has your initiative been institutionalized at your university or surrounding policy environment? • What conditions will (furthermore) be required for institutionalizing ESD initiatives in the HE – community interface? Please focus your elaborations on the characteristics of HE: research, education, management & administration, public policy

  17. First conclusions

  18. Further steps Analysis of the workshop contributions → Identify how HE institutions within the RCE network can enable the institutionalization of sustainability initiatives → Basis for further research on framework conditions that can support the scaling of co-operations between higher education and community

  19. Thank you for your interest and contributions! Contacts: Abel Atiti (UNU-IAS): Marlene Mader (RCE Graz-Styria): Supportedby: Austrian Federal Ministry for Science and Research

  20. Announcements & Publications • HE Rio+20 Treaty • • Whole-of-institution approach • Transformation • Short-medium-long term actions • COPERNICUS Alliance Conference 2014 • Leadership in a changing world: Higher education, sustainability and the new global action programme on ESD • January 10-11th 2014, Univ. of Gloucestershire • Sustainability Accounting Management and Policy Journal, Vol4.Issue3, Nov.13 • Special Issue: Effective change management, governance and policy for sustainability transformation in higher education • Papers from Egypt, Europe, Australia