Students taking one of the new Sixth Century Courses as part of the University’s curriculum reform presented their work last week to an international audience in London as part of the British Council’s Going Global conference.
Three University of Aberdeen students: Claire Arnott (First year Education), Sharri Holroyd (Third year, Education and International Relations), and Valeria Pini (Fourth year, Politics and International Relations) took part in the London conference. Both Claire and Valeria are volunteers for the University of Aberdeen Centre for Sustainable International Development and Claire’s group presentation was one of those being shown at the conference. Helping the students present their work was the Centre’s Director, Dr Hilary Homans.
Last September over 100 students from across the University enrolled on the innovative twelve-week interdisciplinary course on Sustainable International Development run as part of curriculum reform at the University and coordinated by the Centre for Sustainable International Development.
The course aimed to provide students with an overview of the complexity of sustainable international development and the linkages between social development, economic growth and environmental protection. This was approached through an examination of the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with a specific focus on the least developed countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
The course was available to students from all disciplines and was taught by lecturers from a wide range of different disciplines (Biological Sciences, Development Studies, Economics, Education, Environmental Studies, Geography, History, Law, Linguistics and Modern Languages, Population Health, Social Sciences).As well as inputs from a range of disciplines, students also learned from films and novels from the region and from the experiences of Aberdeen-based non-governmental organisations working in Kenya, Rwanda, Sierra Leone , South Africa and Uganda. Staff from these NGOs made inputs into the course and enabled students to see the relationship between development theory and practice.
By the end of the first course, students could show that they had developed skills in participatory and social networking approaches and were able to engage with issues of sustainable international development as well-informed global citizens. They actively participated in debates and discussions and completed the course working in small groups to prepare graded presentations.