22 SES 12 C, Civic Engagement in Higher Education Teaching and Learning
The Council of the European Union adopted a recommendation on key competences for lifelong learning, in which eight key competences essential for personal fulfilment, a healthy and sustainable lifestyle, employability, active citizenship and social inclusion are identified. (European Union, 2018). These results will support achieving strategical goals set in Estonian Education Development Plan 2021-2035 to implement more practical learning (e.g. problem-based and project-based learning) to make learning more meaningful and to develop the ability to solve the challenges of personal life, teaching, the local community or society in a creative, collaborative and innovative way (Ministry of Education, 2020). This contribution will focus on two case studies from Estonia, first, the business development programme STARTER, which helps HEI students and pupils from vocational schools and gymnasiums to develop most of the listed competences, and second, the start-up SORTER which aims at the reduction and recycling of waste. Methodologically, qualitative interviews were conducted and analysed to find out why the programmes were launched, what motivates students to participate in these civic engagement projects, how digital tools can be used for teaching and learning as well as the benefits for students, university and community. STARTER: The semester-long extra-curriculum programme STARTER consists of workshops that guide teams from ideation to business model with the aim to find solutions to real societal needs. Student teams receive individual mentoring from start-up founders or social entrepreneurs and are subject to regular performance evaluations. Individuals and teams introduce their ideas at Idea Hackathon. Students across various disciplines form teams there and get instructions for initial validation. The programme ends with business and project ideas competition. SORTER: The student start-up SORTER is a great example for students’ digital civic engagement and might have impact not only on the local community but a global one. The “Agenda for Sustainable Development” states that sustainable urban development and management are crucial to the quality of life of our people (United Nations, 2015). Therefore, reduction and recycling of waste will be important. The European Union aims at recycling 75% of packaging waste by 2030 (European Union, 2019), however the problem is that even many environmentally friendly institutions, also universities, do not have enough expert information in order to sort their waste correctly and follow these targets. The SORTER's project engages students in digital mobile application, which is easy to use, and gives information on recycling and waste management.
United Nations, Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, https://sdgs.un.org/2030agenda European Union, Review of Waste Policy and Legislation, https://ec.europa.eu/environment/waste/target_review.htm European Union, Key Competences for Lifelong Learning, https://op.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/297a33c8-a1f3-11e9-9d01-01aa75ed71a1/language-en Ministry of Education, Eesti haridusvaldkonna arengukava 2035 https://www.hm.ee/sites/default/files/haridusvaldkonna_arengukava_2035_27okt.pdf
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