Experts in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Take Finnish Education to Saudi Arabia
Finnish research and education expertise is in high demand around the world. Co-owned by the University of Turku, the University of Eastern Finland, and the Åbo Akademi University, Finland University offers various types of commissioned professional training both in South America and Middle East and in different parts of South East Asia.
Saudi Arabia has set economic diversification as the country’s objective, and entrepreneurship and innovations have a central role in the Saudi Mission 2020 strategy. The Saudi Arabian universities wish to offer their students competence and opportunities to engage in entrepreneurial activities.
In a week-long workshop organised last November, university teacher Sanna Ilonen and university lecturer Joachim Ramström from the University of Turku trained around 160 teachers and members of staff of the Saudi Arabian Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal university to incorporate entrepreneurial thinking and innovation education in the university’s study programmes. The objective in Saudi Arabia is to create new entrepreneurial and innovation courses to be included in various different study programmes.
– The first entrepreneurship courses have already started, and more will follow in the near future, Ilonen tells.
– Organising a workshop promoting entrepreneurship and innovation education felt very natural to us as it’s based on our expertise both in education and in research, Ramström says.
In addition to organising the workshop, Ilonen, Ramströn, and Coordinator of Transnational Education and Key Account Manager Ari Koski participated in an international panel discussion on Finnish education success in entrepreneurship and innovation.
The training organised in Imam Abdulrahman bin Faisal university was a continuation to the four-day workshop organised in November 2018. In the workshop, Ramström and University Research Fellow Laura Helle gave the teachers an orientation to project-based learning.
– The great thing about the workshop on project-based learning was that it was based on the expertise at the Pori campus. We were able to utilise the methods developed for our course on integrative project-based learning, Ramström tells.
According to many researchers and Coordinator of Transnational Education Ari Koski, there is plenty of pedagogical expertise and knowledge in Finland that could be utilised in transnational education.
– Many will be interested in acquiring our expertise once we productise it. In this case, it was particularly nice that we had the opportunity to organise continuation to the course arranged in 2018. It shows that our partner was satisfied with the training, Koski concludes.