VIA joins the global network of UNESCO Sustainable Development Goals Schools 

VIA University College has become part of the world-wide ‘UNESCO Associated Schools Network’. Together with other sustainable institutions across the globe, VIA will exchange experiences by integrating the UN Sustainable Development Goals in teaching.

UNESCO School
As part of the Sustainable Development Goals Schools (UNESCO SDG Schools) network, VIA, together with 11,500 educational institutions world-wide, will develop sustainable curricula aiming at preparing and educating Danish youth for global citizenship and sustainable development.
Photo: UNESCO SDG Schools.

The just under 20,000 vocational students at VIA’s eights campuses, do not study only at VIA University College – they also study at a UNESCO SDG School. That is, VIA has become part of the network UNESCO Associated Schools Project (AS), a global education network, which presently includes 11,500 educational institutions in 182 countries aiming at preparing education to enhance international understanding and contribute to a more peaceful world.

‘VIA has already come far with the sustainable development goals. However, as a SDG institution, we will have discussions with educational institutions globally and the opportunity to exchange knowledge and experiences to improve ourselves even more. This is indeed a milestone in our work with sustainability’, says Karen Frederiksen, chairing the interdisciplinary project group, which has been established to support VIA’s SDG activities. She continues:

‘It is part of taking responsibility as an educational institution to equip students to do what counts. Because, all our programmes play a role in realizing the SDGs – from engineers and designers, who set an example with sustainable alternatives and responsible production methods – to the healthcare professionals, who will shape the future society. Becoming an SDG institution, I expect that, in time, we will see an even bigger footprint in the curricula and professional elements of the study programmes’.

SDG advice for students in the pipeline

‘It will make a great impact to VIA’s students that they now study at a SDG institution’, says Jeppe Kiel Christensen, Manager of VIA’s Research Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and part of the SDG project group.

‘This will have high impact on VIA as an institution. As a SDG institution, we will have additional scope for action and specific offers of activities focused on the students. We have also launched a number of initiatives involving the students. These include a.o. an SDG ambassador course for students, and we are also in the process of establishing a SDG student council, the role of which will be important in VIA’s operations within sustainable development and sustainability goals’.

Several initiatives on the way

The UNESCO network has special focus on two areas – education as sustainable development, and global citizenship. VIA already has several other initiatives within the two areas in the pipeline.

Through a new network called VIAble, teachers and researchers are able to exchange experience as to how to integrate sustainability in both curricula and research. Also, this upcoming spring, a major SDG conference will be held for students, teachers and researchers, the topic being study programmes of the future.

‘We commit ourselves to share our knowledge. At VIA, we are far ahead in implementing the sustainable goals in our educations, and we have to share this knowledge at national and international level with specific examples and extensive discussions of the roles of education in a sustainable development’, says Jeppe Kiel Christensen.

Win-win for VIA and the network

UNESCO SDG express their pleasure of having VIA on the team.

‘We look forward to including VIA University College in the network. I am convinced that, nationally and internationally, this will be a win-win situation to VIA, as well as the currently 68 Danish SDG schools in the network’, says Poul Erik Christoffersen, who is the national coordinator of UNESCO SDG.

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