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International congress hosted by the UAB focuses on service learning

20 Jan 2023
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From 25 to 27 January, the UAB-Casa Convalescència will play host to a national and international congress on University Service Learning—organised by 12 Catalan universities—which will assess the impact of the projects. Some 300 participants—lecturers, students and entities—will be taking part and presenting 200 posters and communications. The UAB will be presenting a study in the social impact of this educative proposal after analysing 53 different experiences.


Can Service Learning (SL) transform communities? Does SL model the social views of young people by offering contact with other realities? Is it a catalyst for teaching innovation? Does it pose changes in perspective and new ethical dilemas for researchers? These are some of the questions that will be answered in the XI National and V International Congress on University Service-Learning, organised by 12 Catalan universities, including the UAB, through the Catalan Universities Service Learning Network (Xarxa ApSUCAT). The event will take place from 25 to 27 January at the UAB-Casa Convalescència in Barcelona. The full programme can be found here.

Service Learning is an educational programme in which students can form part of a project aimed at solving a real need in the community and, thereby, improve the living conditions of people and the quality of the environment.

This year's edition, in which there are almost 300 participants—lecturers, students and entities—and 200 posters and communications being presented, will be focused on evaluating the impact SL projects at universities have had in the different agents involved.

The congress will include the support of the Ministry for Universities of the Catalan Government, the Barcelona City Council and the Spanish Ministry for Universities.

When university and community meet

The opening conference will be given by lecturer Janice McMillan, expert in the impact on communities of SL projects conducted by the University of Cape Town, South Africa, a country in which these types of practices are essential. McMillan will speak on "What happens when the university meets the community? Reflecting on the impact and evaluation of service learning as a complex 'boundary practice'?".

Despite this being a scientific congress, the nature of Service Learning makes it possible for students and entities to have a leading role. On Thursday 26 January, joint work sessions will be held with lecturers, entities, students and university SL technical professionals to reflect upon the different roles in the project and find innovative strategies that could improve their impact.

Visits have also been programmed to different social entities participating in the university SL projects. On the afternoon of Wednesday 25 January participants will be placed in groups and will visit the "Casal dels Infants" children's centre and the Cehda Ghana cultural project, the "Escola Comunitària de Formació Permanent La Troca" education centre and the "Plataforma d’Afectats per la Hipoteca de Barcelona" mortgage victims association, and the "Associació AFATRAC-Afectats per Trastorns de Conducta" conductual disorders association, the Catalan Federation of Social Volunteers and the ECOM Foundation (covering associations of people with physical disabilities).

The final conference will be given by Josep Maria Puig and Brenda Bär, both from the University of Barcelona (UB), and will include the particiaption of Spanish Minister for Universities Joan Subirats.

The congress will also be awarding the Laura Rubio Prize in recognition of SL initiatives promoting the reflection on the ethical dimension of social interventions. Laura Rubio, who died in 2021, held a PhD in Paedagogy and was professor at the UB, as well as one of the first to have implemented SL in Spain.

The UAB, defender of university SL projects with 53 experiences

The UAB actively participates in this congress in both the organisational and scientific committees, and in the presentation of communications and posters. The programme includes 13 posters by UAB students and lecturers and 3 communications. Among these are the UAB group of SL Innovation, which will present the analysis of the social impact of SL programmes conducted at the UAB, entitled "Impacte social de l’ApS universitari. Anàlisi dels programes de la UAB", in which José Luis Lalueza and Sílvia Blanch will present their conclusions after analysing 53 SL Experiences at the UAB from 2019 to 2021.

Congress website: https://www.apsu11.cat/?lang=ca

UAB Service Learning Office website: https://www.uab.cat/ca/aprenentatge-servei

The UAB, with Sustainable Development Goals

  • Quality education