Novia UAS participates in entrepreneurial project in Tanzania


Earlier this year, a project application by a consortium consisting of Novia UAS, University of Turku and Turku UAS received funding from HEI ICI, a programme financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and administered by the Finnish National Agency for Education.

The four-year project, named GeoICT4e, aims at improving entrepreneurial skills for university students in five Tanzanian universities, skills related to geospatial sciences (GIS) and to sustainability in a broad sense.

The university sector in Tanzania grows at a rapid pace, and the millions of graduates expected to enter the workforce in the coming years cannot only rely on being employed as government officials, a typical career for previous generations of university graduates. Instead, they have to employ themselves, or develops skills that make them attractive on the job market.

University of Turku has previously implemented two similar HEI ICI projects in Tanzania, then aiming at developing the infrastructure at the universities such as GIS labs, as well as training the university staff in geospatial matters. The current project takes a step closer to the society as it builds on a learning method that we call MCL, Multi-Competence Learning, and is implemented through so called challenge campaigns, where students solve multi-faceted problems in a real world setting.

The project looks at the world through a sustainability lens, and consists of several themes, the most important being climate change and its implications, geospatial technologies and ICT, innovation and entrepreneurship and natural resources management. As Novia’s input is channeled through the Faculty of Bioeconomy, the main focus is on natural resources management and sustainable coastal management issues. Novia  will also take part in development and testing of the MCL method and other activities during the project.

- Due to covid-19, the ongoing inception face of the project had to be replanned, without extensive travelling and face-to-face meetings. Fortunately, our Tanzanian partners are skilled in using ICT and the internet connections are acceptable, so we have been able to conduct a series of online meetings both with them and with our partners in Finland, says Romi Rancken, senior lecturer and project leader at Novia UAS.

The inception phase ends at the end of January 2021. After the project plan have been updated, the project will start with the first big task, producing 40-50 “mini-MOOCs” for use at the universities in Tanzania.

- We in Finland are also counting on being able to utilize materials and methods that are developed during the project. All learning materials will also be open sourced and made available for anyone, says Romi Rancken.

Project description: https://www.oph.fi/sv/node/8693
Project website: https://www.geoict.org/

"The Higher Education Institutions Institutional Cooperation Instrument (HEI ICI) supports cooperation projects between higher education institutions in Finland and the developing world. The projects support the HEIs as they develop their subject-specific, methodological, educational and administrative capacity. The programme is funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and administered by the Finnish National Agency for Education."

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