By Prof Brand Wessels,

FOREST21 is a joint project with the goal of strengthening capacity in South African higher education in forestry. The project is coordinated by Häme University of Applied Sciences in Finland, and is implemented in collaboration with five higher education institutions (HEIs) in South Africa, Aalto University in Finland, and the Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences. Our Department of Forest and Wood Science plays a central role in the project.

The project goals are to promote climate-smart forestry and entrepreneurial innovativeness in forestry education, in an effort to improve the understanding of the role of forests, stimulate job creation as well as mitigation of climate change. FOREST21 will be implemented through evaluating and reforming the curricula in forestry at all HEIs and bring them into entrepreneurship education to equip graduates with problem-solving skills, an entrepreneurial mindset and climate-smart thinking.

Problem-based learning (PBL) methods and student-centred teaching are in the centre of the project. Students learn through solving real-life business challenges on the field in international teams. FOREST21 requires close collaboration with the industrial sector as well as teachers and the managerial staff in partner HEIs to find the practices in the local context.

FOREST21 is co-funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union.

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