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Teaching promoting sustainable development

Theses 4-5

Studies in sustainable development are part of all degrees and the continuous learning offered

All specialists who have graduated from universities understand their responsibility in promoting and developing sustainability. They are provided with the skills and knowledge required for this and the abilities and motivation to take their knowledge into practice. Universities develop and provide services in continuous learning on the themes of sustainable development and responsibility.

The following concrete measures must be taken:

  • The studies of all students at Finnish universities include a basic course on sustainability and responsibility. 
  • The learning outcomes of degrees include understanding and implementing global responsibility and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals in the context of the field of study. Sustainable development is a natural and cross-cutting part of the learning goals of each degree programme also from the point of view of the field of study concerned. Universities identify the key content and learning goals related to sustainability and responsibility in the different degree programmes.   
  • Universities dismantle obstacles and develop cross-cutting structures to enable multidisciplinary degree programmes. 
  • The achievement of the learning outcomes of sustainable development and responsibility is monitored as part of feedback, graduation and career follow-up surveys.
  • The key capabilities related to sustainable development and responsibility (e.g. critical and ethical thinking, cooperation and interaction skills, change management and identification of one’s own expertise) are paid attention to as part of the teaching of academic expert skills. 
  • In line with the principles of continuous learning, universities develop and provide sustainability education to support equity and active citizenship. Universities draw up a national strategy and implementation plan on education for sustainability.

Universities promote the accessibility of higher education and a safe research and teaching environment

The task of education is to open opportunities to everyone. The opportunity to acquire a higher education degree must not depend on the individual’s socio-economic position or cultural background. Universities take care of the equal accessibility of academic education both globally and nationally. Universities ensure that research and teaching can take place in safe conditions without a threat of violence and persecution.

The following concrete measures must be taken:

  • Education leading to a degree must be free. Universities respect the UN’s principle of leaving no one behind by fostering free higher education and diverse routes to tertiary education.
  • Universities take concrete actions to promote the availability and accessibility of education. Special attention is paid to the accessibility of digital information regarding the needs of special groups.
  • To strengthen cultural sustainability, universities provide instruction and opportunities to conduct research in the national languages of Finland.
  • Universities ensure that their international staff and students can fully participate in the development and activities of the university community.  Universities take diverse measures to support multilingualism and an understanding of language proficiency and cultures.
  • Universities commit themselves to international activities aimed at enabling and protecting academic freedom (e.g. “Scholars at Risk” network)
  • Universities support the strengthening of competence in developing countries as well as mutual learning and interaction. 

Theses 6-8