Aalto projects in Africa focusing on supporting problem-based learning and energy efficiency


Projects in Africa granted funding by Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

Developing energy efficiency and problem-based learning are the aims of two new Aalto projects in Africa. Both projects have received funding from the competitive HEI ICI programme (Higher Education Institutions Institutional Cooperation Instrument), an international development cooperation programme for higher education funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

The three-year projects starting this year are steered by Aalto Global Impact and the Department of Electrical Engineering and Automation, with HEI ICI funding of 700,000 euros and 606,000 euros respectively.

Strengthening problem-based learning in East African universities

The HEI ICI project of Aalto Global Impact (AGI) focuses on strengthening problem-based education in East African universities (PBL East Africa).  The project is a joint initiative with Nairobi University (Kenya), Makerere University (Uganda), and Dar es Salaam University (Tanzania), and also includes numerous partners from Aalto University’s multidisciplinary project courses.

‘Problem-based learning is already well established and a strategic priority of the partnering universities.  However, concrete practice is needed to apply new teaching methodologies and foster a student-driven, proactive mindset,’ says AGI Senior Manager Riina Subra.

Each partner university in Africa takes ownership of the project at the local level. The PBL East Africa project operates as a piloting platform allowing each partner university to test, choose and refine the best way for them to implement PBL education, and to integrate it into their longer-term teaching and curricula.

Approximately ten student challenges will be piloted reaching over hundred students and engaging over thirty East African faculty members, as teachers of multi-disciplinary PBL courses or participants of workshops. In addition, the lessons learned and the results of the student projects will be disseminated to a wide audience.

Further info on the project

Developing energy efficient lighting systems in sub-Saharan Africa

Promoting education and research in energy efficient lighting and renewable energy for sustainable development (EARLI) is steered by the Department of Electrical Engineering and Automation and partners include University of Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Eduardo Mondlane University (Mozambique), and Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia).

‘Lighting is the major consumer of electricity in developing countries and national electricity consumption for lighting can be even higher than 80 percent of total electricity production,’ explains Researcher Pramod Bhusal, Department of Electrical Engineering and Automation. ‘Demand for electricity in Tanzania, Mozambique, and Ethiopia is growing fast, but the supply has not been able to catch up with the pace of demand.’

The overall objective of the project is to support higher education institutions in Tanzania, Mozambique and Ethiopia to provide education that promotes sustainable socio-economic development. Energy efficient needs and opportunities will be identified first, in order to develop new, innovative courses and establishment of lighting laboratory at partner universities. The project also aims to disseminate and promote knowledge on energy efficient lighting to industry, the public sector, and society.

More information:

Pramod Bhusal, Researcher
Department of Electrical Engineering and Automation
+358 50 3160991

Riina Subra, Senior Manager
Aalto Global Impact
+358 50 4066251