A SERVICE-LEARNING EXPERIENCE BASED ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS IN SECONDARY AND HIGHER EDUCATION
1 Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (SPAIN)
2 Colegio El Porvenir (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Conference name: 15th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 7-9 November, 2022
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:Achieving a better and more sustainable future is the most pressing global challenge. In recent years, many public and private policies have been reoriented to align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They are an urgent call for action to protect the planet and guarantee the global well-being of people by 2030. To accelerate progress towards the SDGs is essential the active involvement of countries, individuals, organizations, and companies worldwide. Educational institutions and young people can play a critical role in the implementation and monitoring of the SDGs. Connected to each other like never before, young people can spark action in their communities and hold governments accountable.
This paper presents a Service-Learning project, ‘A-BASE-DE-PROS’, developed by the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) in Spain to introduce students to the SDGs and provide them skills for the support of a sustainable society. Here we focus on the activities developed by undergraduate students, enrolled in economics subjects at the School of Agricultural, Food and Biosystems Engineering, in relation to the SDG6 (clean water and sanitation). In the ‘learning’ phase, undergraduate students developed academic projects related to the circular economy of wastewater using case studies, gamification techniques, and posters. Next, in the ‘service’ phase, they presented these projects to high school students, enrolled in the 4th year of ESO (Compulsory Secondary Education), and encouraged and empowered them to get involved in creative solutions related to water circularity. A total of 100 and 66 students, respectively, from the School of Agricultural, Food and Biosystems Engineering and the High school El Porvenir participated in this experience.
Results were analyzed from the perspective of the different students involved (undergraduate and high school students), using a survey and considering both qualitative and quantitative metrics. The results show that the experience helped raise students' awareness of water stress and the protection of water-related ecosystems, motivating them to change their water use and consumption habits. It also served students to better understand the SDGs and the circular economy and contributed to develop competences to participate as informed citizens in promoting the transformation towards a more sustainable society. Both students (undergraduate and high school students) are satisfied with this collaboration and would like to carry out more activities of this type. Moreover, this experience clearly contributed to students' academic learning and personal and social development.
Keywords: Sustainable Development Goals, circular economy, water, service-learning, curricular skills, youth.