In 2020, UniPID offered the opportunity for teachers to apply for course grants which can be co-created between a member university and a partner university in the Global South. Our course "Climate Change and Trade in the Global South" is one of them. We talked to three students who took this course and this is what they told us.
“The sky was no longer blue, as it was covered in a thin layer of smoke that couldn't possibly be fog” (Karmila).
Karmila was one of the students of our course "Climate Change and Trade in the Global South", co-hosted by the University of Turku in Finland and Brawijaya University in Indonesia. Since 2020, UniPID has offered the opportunity for teachers to apply for course grants which can be co-created between a member university and a partner university in the Global South.
The course aims to provide unique tools to find common grounds between competing goals such as trade and climate change, seeking development with global responsibility. The teacher, Ayu Pratiwi, has created a hands-on experience worthy of recognition from her students, according to feedback reports. This is why this post is dedicated to highlight the experiences from the students from Brawijaya University who took the course.
Karmila explains that her interest to register the course came from curiosity and concern for the environmental conditions around her:
“The sky was no longer blue, as it was covered in a thin layer of smoke that couldn't possibly be fog. The air is no longer cool and tends to be hot even though you are near the trees. Not to mention the phenomenon of floods and landslides, as well as forest fires that often hit Indonesia.”
She feels that environmental issues should receive more attention. As an officer in a government agency and a master's student in economics, she considers the course relevant to her. She was also looking forward to feed her curiosity on how ICT can contribute/reduce extreme climate change, as well as understand climate change and its relation to the economy.
Like Karmila, Deni and Yanuar were also trying to build bridges between the content of the course and their everyday work. As a local public officer, Deni found it useful for local development planning:
“This course is very relevant to what I am doing because a deep understanding of the issue of climate change is very necessary in every preparation of development policy materials”
Similarly, Yanuar's work as a village trainer highlighted her personal interest on how climate change affected local communities and their livelihoods:
“In my opinion, what is more relevant is climate change because it affects the community's commodities and economy, where this material affects welfare at the village level [...] by taking the course I understand that climate change can be addressed with local development strategies”
The students also found challenging and eye opening the task on reporting on country-specific development policies, which surfaced perhaps the dual reality not only Indonesia but in many other countries:
"When we were asked to tell about policies in a country, I became aware of the dilemma of the Indonesian government. On the one hand, Indonesia is still trying to encourage growth, on the other hand there is an environment that must be maintained. Political elements also sometimes play a role in winning one of this policies" (Karmila)
The course touched the students. Yanuar, Deni and Karmila expressed their gratitude because much of the content connected to their everyday worklife. Though their personal reasons to register differed, they all shared common expectations: increase their knowledge on climate change, how to reconcile competing objectives, and how could they materialize course knowledge in daily activities.
These were just few of the messages students wanted to share on a course co-created with a partner university in the Global South. Virtual courses create possibilities for students from different parts of the world to study together. However, as all of us have studied only online due to pandemic, it has become more complex to create bonds. It has also become harder, or tiring, for teachers and students to share their motivations, expertise and thoughts behind the course, as well as to measure/understand the impacts of the course. We thank Yanuar, Deni, and Karmila for sharing their experiences and we are glad to see that our course can have an impact outside the virtual classroom.
Photo credit: Silas Baisch, 2019 on Unsplash