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Challenge-driven education the focus in Africa

To bring about change and solve actual problems in the world today, education and innovation need to come together. The way to achieve this is through challenge-driven education, an approach whereby courses and programmes are shaped around genuine societal challenges. The education is often project-led, and can relate to anything from urban planning to clean water and ergonomics.

This challenge-based approach is the main focus of the Global Development Hub, GDH, which began in 2017 in association with four African universities: University of Rwanda, University of Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Strathmore University (Kenya) and Botho University (Botswana). Together, we have run several courses, held student exchanges and also teacher training. This also makes the GDH a focal point for our presence on the African continent.

Signing a MOU between between KTH and University of Rwanda, Rwanda Polytecnic, Rwanda Development board and National Council for Science and Technology.

In addition, last week we were able to extend our collaboration with the University of Rwanda by signing a Memorandum of Understanding, or MoU. The MoU also includes other parties in Rwanda and a broader portfolio of activities than before, including participation in research and innovation.

Rwanda is a small country in East Africa that has developed rapidly over the past 20 years, and is in different ways a fulcrum for innovation activities, enterprise and societal development in its region. The university has also received ever-better resources for its activities in recent decades, so extending our partnership with it is the right move strategically.

The challenge-driven education model is, as mentioned, pivotal to work within the GDH, but it can of course also be used for activities on campus in Stockholm.

The basic idea is the same: to find potential solutions to societal challenges by combining the challenge in education with innovative solutions. One example is OpenLab, which is run by KTH alongside several higher education institutions in the region, the City of Stockholm and Region Stockholm. It presents an opportunity for our partners to place their concrete challenges in the course and project environment provided by OpenLab.