What’s in for Higher Education this year? 5 things in 2022 to watch & get involved in

26 January 2022 | From UNICA

What’s in for Higher Education this year? 5 things in 2022 to watch & get involved in

Story highlights

– Key topics in 2022: youth, citizenship, sustainability, rethinking education, and (post) COVID era;
– Education is a priority for the UN in 2022;
– UNICA organises activities associated to all topics.

It’s only January but 2022 already promises to be great for Higher Education! With the vision of contributing to build the European Education Area by 2025, UNICA is focusing on the journey to get there.

Here are five things happening this year to keep an eye on:

1- European Year of Youth (ongoing)

Recognising the role of young people in the development of the European project, the EU decided to dedicate 2022 to the youth. The goal is to amplify young people’s voices through youth-focused activities across the EU.

The European Youth Event is the European Parliament’s flagship programme to discuss and share ideas on how to shape the future of Europe, but many other initiatives are already taking place or are being organised in this framework.

UNICA welcomes this initiative with enthusiasm, following its longstanding practice of encouraging students of its member universities to share their priorities with the community through the UNICA Student Conference. Following last year’s edition, which resulted in the UNICA Student Declaration, the network has now a student representative per working group.

See related UNICA activities:

– UNICA Student Conference 2023, promoted by Roma Tre University in Ventotene island, Italy – more info coming soon

– UNICA Student Conference 2021, promoted by NOVA University Lisbon: “Transforming Your University in the Post-COVID Era”

2- Conclusions of the Conference on the Future of Europe (spring 2022)

The Conference on the Future of Europe is a unique and timely opportunity for European citizens to debate on Europe’s challenges and priorities. The Conference is a flagship initiative of the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission to listen to European citizens and stakeholders and to take action following their recommendations.

With an extended timeline of one and half years, the conference started in March 2021 and is expected to reach conclusions and provide guidance on the future of Europe by spring 2022.

The UNICA & the City working group was created with the mindset that universities are leading players in societal impact, shaping processes in the employment panorama, sustainable development goals, innovation practices, and governance and public policy affairs, among others. Having in mind the objectives of this group, the conclusions of the Conference can be an interesting source of information for the debate on how universities can build and keep sustainable relationships with citizens.

See related UNICA activities:

UNICA – Eutopia Train webinar & workshop: “How to engage citizens in your research?” | 15 February

UNeECC and UNICA Joint Webinar: UniverCities and Culture
The Role of Universities in Fostering High Quality Citizen Science

3- Stockholm+50 (June 2022)

Sustainability is a priority for universities today and so the Stockhom+50 can be a great opportunity for Higher Education institutions to follow up on the debate surrounding the SDGs. On 2 and 3 June, Stockholm (Sweden) will host an international environmental meeting that marks 50 years since the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Environment, which pointed out for the first time that environmental challenges would become a pressing  issue on a global scale.

Organised around the motto “a healthy planet for the prosperity of all – our responsibility, our opportunity”, the event aims to act as a springboard to accelerate the implementation of the UN Decade of Action to deliver the SDGs.

See related UNICA activities:

UNICA Green & SDGs Climate action roundtables (Jan & Feb 2022)

Webinar series: The response of capital city universities in Europe and Asia-Pacific to the UN SDGs
UNICA Green webinars 2020-2021

4- Transforming Education Summit (September 2022)

Education is taking centre stage at the UN this year which will peak in the “Transforming Education Summit”, scheduled for September 2022. The initiative, which is part of the efforts towards achieving SDG 4, Quality Education, aims at rethinking education systems that equip learners with skills and knowledge to excel in a rapidly changing world. According to UN Secretary General, António Guterres, “In the face of profound social, political, economic, environmental and technological change, there is a growing consensus that today’s education systems are no longer fit for purpose”.

As a launching pad for the Summit, UNESCO published last November the report “Reimagining Our Future Together: a new social contract for education”, which is the result of two years of consultations and encourages forging a new social contract for education as a means of building a peaceful, just, and sustainable future for all.

The suggested shift is in line with many of the innovative pedagogical approaches that European universities are experimenting with and that are frequently subject of debate at UNICA events. The Summit could be a great opportunity to raise attention to the urgency of implementing  these practices on a global scale and at other levels of education.

See related UNICA activities:

McGraw Hill, CIVIS & UNICA Virtual Symposium on “Innovative Medical Education in the Digital Era” | 8 February

UNICA EduLAB & CIVIS webinar: New European curricula for the new European Degrees. From bulk learning to modularisation
– UNICA Webinar “The Challenges of Modernisation of Higher Education: From Comenius to the Digital Era”

5- (Re)building Europe after the pandemic

As we are entering the third year of the pandemic, the world is witnessing some positive changes with the widespread use of the vaccine and a decrease in mortality rates. Although mitigation measures will likely be around for a while, some countries have already expressed opening the debate about the possibility of evaluating the evolution of COVID to an endemic illness, instead of a pandemic. Either way, institutions have been adapting their work to the context of a “new normal”, accelerating digitalisation processes and new approaches to the workplace.

As hubs of knowledge and innovation, universities can be key players not only in supporting decision-makers, but also promoting the debate with other spheres of society. Also, the disruption posed by the pandemic also brought a revolution to certain practices, which universities will likely continue exploring in the coming year. From novel teaching methods and approaches to a reinforced focus on transdisciplinarity and interdisciplinarity, universities are testbeds for new systems of knowledge development.

See related UNICA activities:

Online UNICA EduLAB Workshop: Innovative pedagogies and virtual mobility in the (post) COVID-19 era
Webinar “Innovating HE Pedagogy in Turbulent Times” (University of Bucharest, UNICA, CIVIS)
“Effectively Fund inter- and Transdisciplinary Research” – UNICA – CESAER network joint workshop

Subscribe to our newsletter

I agree to the Privacy Policy *