The objectives and the main activities of the project INOWASIA were explained to a delegation of the University of South-Eastern Norway (Universitetet i Sørøst-Norge) who visited the University of Girona. The coordinator of the project briefly introduced the consortium and explained in detail the importance of training the new generation of young water professionals in Southeast Asia, as part of a capacity building for higher education institutions in the area funded by Erasmus+.
The problem-based learning methodology caught the attention of the attendants, most of them teachers in different fields in Norway, and there was a long debate on the importance of applying innovative teaching methodologies to engage the students and let them acquire the 21st century soft skill: collaboration, communication, and creative/critical thinking. Among other aspects, the attendants discussed with INOWASIA coordinator about the strong and weak points of the methodology, about the problems and barriers for the implementation of these student-centred methodologies, and about the lack of acceptance of the significant changes in the education systems by the students, by the professors, and by the management teams of the faculties and departments.
The researchers from the Norwegian delegation also showed great interest in the potential of the water-oriented living labs, as an innovation hub for training and research, and to attract and involve the society and the public and private stakeholders in the field of water resources. The workshop also included the explanation of the SHEFCE Erasmus+ project (Steering Higher Education for Community Engagement), that aims to further build the capacities of universities, policymakers and stakeholders in Europe for mainstreaming community engagement in higher education.
INOWASIA is an Erasmus + Capacity Building Higher Education project that promotes a joint action of 11 organisations across 5 countries (Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, France and Spain) to train a new generation of water professionals in Southeast Asia. More info