With „University of Ideas“, the African Centre for Career Enhancement & Skill Support (ACCESS) is looking for innovative ideas large and small, that can stimulate development in the topics of digital tools/formats in education, university business linkages, and career enhancement in the context of employability through universities.
Our society is constantly changing. How we communicate with each other, learn, work, evolve – all of this is subject to permanent change and must constantly face/its future. Innovations from the university environment can meet these challenges. They contribute to progress and the ability to innovate, to the shaping of future activities and the adaptability of its people. Innovations occur in all areas of a university. They can show up in teaching, methods and the tools we use, their services, or even the design of their inner organization and its public presentation. They can be profit-oriented, but do not have to be. They can be technology-induced, or they can arise independently of technologies. This change is often embedded in a specific environment, following the rules of its own ecosystem. Rooted in this initial position we are looking for innovation in regards to the three following topics.
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A special attention is nowadays given to the so called employability skills or future working skills when discussing the challenges of employability. Skills such as teamwork | communication | learning to learn | problem solving are needed for a life-long learning process of every man and woman. These skills are in high demand and define our today’s work environment more and more frequently. When it comes to improving the employability of graduates, the question raises, how universities and their curricula can contribute to that issue.
It is important to know how skills development can be fostered in an online format – not only due to the pandemic, but also in order to respond to the upcoming new challenges and evolution of the educational environment.
With the idea competition “University of ideas” we are looking for new approaches to teach, develop and improve employability skills among students in an innovative digital format. Pick one of the four before mentioned skills and contribute your innovative idea.
In order to improve the employability of graduates, innovative teaching approaches are needed, especially if they enable students to apply their acquired theoretical input in a practice-oriented way outside the academic world. Service-learning is an approach that combines cognitive learning objectives (learning) with taking responsibility (service), e.g. as community service, in order to provide a practical, progressive learning experience. Through service-learning students are involved in service projects to apply classroom learning for local agencies to effect positive change in the community.
Service Learning can be utilized for all fields of study and learning environments. Though the interest in service learning at educational institutions has increased, these projects are often time-consuming and therefore costly to implement.
We invite you to contribute with an innovative idea to integrate service learning in your curricula, through a digital or offline format.
The triple helix model (Teaching | Research | Knowledge Transfer) of a university structure always implies the challenge of balancing its individual parts. The third column of knowledge transfer has been struggling to gain a similar standing as the first two columns in the ecosystem of a university. One of the channels of the knowledge transfer column is the transfer via people which is grounded in the day-to-day business of the university and influenced by any lecturer in any field of study. It is a multifaceted topic with a variety of questions and angles through which one could approach the challenge and better the transition towards the labour market.
There are already initiatives practiced throughout the universities that aim to stimulate this transition, yet times and times again various challenges and setbacks disrupt the process. We believe with a focus on its day-to-day business, especially through the experience of lecturers, that they come particularly geared to develop innovate ideas or concepts to tackle this topic.
Because we believe the expertise lies within the system. Lecturers are crucial actors for teaching/preparing the next generation of employees and entrepreneurs for the labour market. However, due to high unemployment rates among graduates and not fulfilled needs by private employers new concepts in the university in the perspective of teaching and infrastructure are needed to create a prosper future of graduates that impacts the society at such.
For this purpose we believe that you as a lecturer have capacity and creativity to develop innovative concepts that improve the employability of graduates.
We encourage any lecturer from a university that is based in the ACCESS focus countries (Benin, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda and Tunisia) to join the ACCESS idea competition. We warmly invite you to join the kick-off event (05/05/2021, at 15:00 (GMT) to receive a detailed understanding about the process.
You can either develop your idea individually or within a group from your university. Each group can submit one idea but several ideas can be developed resulting from several groups at one university. Lecturers who are employed by the ACCESS project are not allowed to take part in the competition.
The ACCESS jury consists of selected members of the ACCESS project and will announce the winner of the ideas competition 2021.
The best and most promising three ideas will be selected. Each winner/team will be awarded with 1000€.
Please be aware that you need to consider several deadlines: from kick-off to the award ceremony.
The main language during the kick-off event and the award ceremony is English. However, please submit your idea only in English. For this purpose we can recommend you to use google translate or deepl.
Leipzig University in Germany together with its African partner universities IRGIB (Benin), KNUST (Ghana), Mount Kenya University (Kenya), INES Ruhengeri (Rwanda), University of Ibadan (Nigeria) and Tunis University (Tunisia) are organizing the competition.
ACCESS is a joint project of Leipzig University, IRGIB (Benin), KNUST (Ghana), Mount Kenya University (Kenya), INES Ruhengeri (Rwanda), University of Ibadan (Nigeria) and Tunis University (Tunisia). ACCESS is a five-year-project funded by the DAAD and the Federal Ministry of Economics and Cooperation. For more detailed information about ACCESS please visit our website.
The ACCESS Wiki-Platform aims to share and exchange content (tools, methods, working papers) on the topic of employability in Africa.
For this purpose lecturers of African universities are invited to share proven methods, tools, working papers etc. that have been successfully implemented in their universities.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us and send an email. We will answer your request as soon as possible.