What if UM provided you with the necessary skills to adapt and take action in your everyday life at a local and global level? This theme will be discussed during EDLAB’s Symposium on “Global Citizenship Education” on March 1st 2018.
Technological disruptions, new social, economic and political dynamics create the fast-paced environment in which we live in. These changes call for the adaptation of Higher Education Institutions, among others. Is traditional learning the best way to cope with such fast societal changes? In order to slowly shift the traditional ways of teaching and learning towards a more practical approach, Maastricht University launched the “Global Citizenship Education” (GCE) project. The GCE project aims at strengthening social responsibility and interpersonal skills in curricula across faculties. Over the past few months, teachers and students from all UM faculties, student organizations, and external stakeholders collaborated on this project. Raising awareness regarding the importance of fostering Global Citizenship (GC) through intra- and extra-curricular activities is an important goal of the Symposium. Students and the UM community as a whole should become change agents capable of taking action at a local and global level. In fact, during an interview with Herco Fonteijn, Associate Professor at the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience and Project Leader of the GCE project, he mentioned how “Global Citizenship is something you learn by doing”.
What is Global Citizenship? A construct consisting in diverse dimensions including global competences such as intercultural and moral abilities, social responsibility, and civic engagement. By embracing these skills, students as well as teachers become change agents who could bridge divides in society.
Partnership between teachers and students
One of the peculiarities of this project is the involvement and collaboration between UM teachers, students and student organizations. Herco Fonteijn believes that one of the reasons this project was initiated was that many students are expressing the need to apply the knowledge they acquired in their respective programs, and to engage in their local communities. Consulting students and student organizations helped define what they considered to be GC and what was missing in the programs. Student input is incredibly valuable for innovation in education: it helps clarify learner needs and enables co-creation.
A panel discussion with representatives from One Young World, UNESCO, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Action Campaign, De Bildung Academie and local organizations engaged with students and the university, will provide the perspective of external stakeholders on GCE.
After the panel discussion, an interactive session will connect the UM community with external stakeholders. The findings of the project will be shared and discussed, and ideas from the attendants will be collected. In this design-thinking workshop, we hope to discover how GC can be acquired within a Problem-Based Learning environment, and what its purpose is within a European network of universities that wishes to build strong relations with community stakeholders. Eventually, we hope to develop a holistic approach to GCE that benefits students, teachers, the institution, and external stakeholders.
How are you benefiting from the Symposium?
For teachers, this is an opportunity to learn about the current project in UM and consider relevant GC example in/for your own course; for students and external stakeholders, it is a unique opportunity to meet one another and influence thinking about higher education outcomes. This afternoon can start fruitful collaborations between teachers, students and community stakeholders.
As the world is rapidly changing, designing education that is relevant for future graduates becomes a challenge. Accept this challenge and come discuss with us what it takes to be a Global Citizen.