TNE impact case study: Altering practices and promoting sustainability in Physiotherapy

Metropolitan College, Queen Margaret University (QMU)
Collaboration type:
SDG Goals:
(1) No Poverty, (3) Good Health and Well-being, (4) Quality Education, (10) Reduced Inequality, (11) Sustainable Cities and Communities, (12) Responsible Consumption and Production, (13) Climate Action
Greece, United Kingdom
Eirini Liapi - Lecturer Department of Physiotherapy - Researcher Institute of Occupational Science & Rehabilitation Metropolitan College

Background and overview of the case study

Metropolitan College has been running in collaboration with Queen Margaret University (QMU), Edinburgh the validated programme BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy.  Common educational practices of the academic staff are set during the studies of Physiotherapy students on sustainability. According to UN SDG 1, educational settings require collaboration and team work with students.  This collaboration was evident with common practices on sustainability in both institutions.  From the first day of studies, students were encouraged to stand by their classmates that cannot afford internet expenses, using hot spot with their mobile phones providing them with internet access for assignments delegated off- campus. Contribution, altruism and generosity are combined with their cooperation and diligence.

Impact and value

Combining SDG 1 with SDG 4, SDG 10 and SDG 11, students were required to attend courses with topics that are discussed in the modules, which are free and are organised by local and international organisations (meeting also SDG 11). The right to learn and a paradigm for the future about Continuous Professional or Personal Development were presented through this activity. Leave no one behind, “poverty” stops limiting educational chances, equality in education, promotion of lifelong learning opportunities for all, inquisitiveness are the main values that are supported through this initiative.

UN SDG 3:  One of the modules students attend in Physiotherapy is “Health Promotion”. In an effort to combine SDG3 with SDG11 and motivate students towards a healthier, active life style, there was a discussion about changing bad habits, reflecting on our own life style and its impact on our own health and wellness and on the environment as well. As a result, some students committed themselves to transferring to and from the campus on foot or by bike, supporting green transportation and staying active. Students that come from longer distances committed themselves to parking their vehicles away from the campus and walk at least 20 minutes to get to it. Minimizing our ecological footprint, respect our environment, consciousness, adaptability and wellness are the core of this effort, something that is in the mission and policy of Queen Margaret University. 

Also lifestyle related health problems, such as smoking, fat diet habits, sedentary life were discussed towards a more active and healthy behavioural change and students at the recesses at least try to assume a healthier attitude towards this goal, supporting one another.

In the same module the on-going COVID-19 pandemic was discussed and vaccination was presented as a health promoting activity, in an effort to motivate students that were not vaccinated and empower them to critically think, considering the existing evidence on vaccination. Criticality, responsibility, respect, and contribution to high risk people and to the whole community are some of the underlying values of this action.  This is in the common policy and education of future health professionals of QMU and MC.

UN SDG 4: Research was done by students to address quality of life issues and wellbeing among people with Post Covid Syndrome. Academic context supports research production which promotes quality in education. Higher Education research leads to excellence, offering, knowledge production, creativity and innovation, values that champion the idea of SDG 4.

UN SDG 11 & UN SDG 12 & UN SDG 13: An effort was made to incorporate sustainability practices on campus in multiple ways:

- During pandemic as well, instead of handing out printed material, electronic sources (eg pdf files) were used (less paper - more trees). 

- Instead of writing on a piece of paper for formative assessments, internet applications were used (Kahoot, Polleverywhere, Wooclap, etc).

- Students were encouraged to bring from home their multiple use bottles for water and coffee (less plastic    healthy territory). 

- Physical lighting was preferred as long as possible (reduction of energy consumption).

- Responsibility, consciousness, provision for the future are indicative values.

These actions lead to “sustainable” students now, “sustainable” professionals in the future.

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