On 9 November 2021, the Flemish Network for Service-Learning in Higher Education organized a third network event for its members and for professionals interested in service-learning in Flanders (Belgium). After two years of online meetings and webinars, it was a relief to finally meet each other in person. The face-to-face contact created space for real networking and for exchanging experiences.
The keynote speech, presented by Katrien Monden of Duurzaam Educatiepunt of the Flemish Government and Leen Van Gijsel of University of Ghent, taught us how service-learning as a pedagogy can strengthen education for sustainability, but also how sustainability thinking can improve service-learning projects. The presenters showed different theoretical frameworks to look at sustainability challenges and shared hands-on ideas on how to strengthen the relation between service-learning and sustainability in an educational context.
In two parallel panels, in total twelve groups of teachers and education professionals illustrated possible opportunities to bring service-learning and sustainability together in their good practices. These examples fuelled the discussions and exchanges during the rest of the day. The day ended in a joint reflection between all participants, where insights of the day were brought together. It was a fruitful network event that inspired participants to further develop their own service-learning practices.
The workshop was also a network event for the Uniservitate-network in Flanders, which was well represented in the organising committee, the presentations and the audience. Moreover, the meeting took place at VIVES (Kortrijk), one of the university-colleges that is supported by Uniservitate. The Flemish Network for Service-Learning in Higher Education is supported by UCSIA (Antwerp). The presentations (in Dutch) will be available on the website of the Flemish Network.
Presentation of the report ‘Service-Learning in Flanders, state of affairs’
At the network event of 9 November 2021, the first report of the Flemish Network for Service-Learning in Higher Education was presented. The content was provided by all member institutions of the Flemish network. Aim of this report is to give an overview of the current state of affairs of the use of the service-learning pedagogy in Flemish higher education institutions. It is also an encouragement for the institutions to further develop service-learning projects and to embed the service-learning pedagogy on a structural, institutional level.
The report contains:
– An overview of the current integration of service-learning at the different higher education institutions of the network;
– Inspirational examples of service-learning practices from the different higher education institutions of the network;
– An overview of international collaborations and projects in which the members of the Flemish network are engaged (including EASLHE, Uniservitate, Erasmus+).
The report (in Dutch) will be available on the website of the Flemish Network.
Source: By Kaat Somers (UCSIA), coordinator Flemish Network for Service-Learning in Higher Education