Higher education in circular economy

Education plays a pivotal role in developing awareness, knowledge and skills required in the transition to the circular economy. Finland has been recognized as a front-runner in the circular economy education in the world and circular economy is integrated in all levels of education. The Finnish strategic programme to promote circular economy, however, pushes for even better integration of circular economy competence as part of the Finnish educational system.

The indicator focuses on circular economy learning offerings by the universities of applied sciences (graph 1). The indicator monitors the amount of offered courses and their ECTS credits. There are 22 universities of applied sciences located all over Finland. Hence, the indicator enables the monitoring of the development of circular economy education all over the country.

The indicator data was collected from the course catalogues of the universities and contacting the institutions. The indicator includes all courses with the term circular economy in the course name or description.

In addition, learning offerings are monitored based on the portal Koulutusta kiertotalouteen "Education on circular economy" (graph 2). The portal, launched in the autumn 2021, is intended to different educational institutions to post information on their circular economy courses in Finland.

Circular economy related education in universities of applied sciences in Finland

Almost all the Finnish universities of applied sciences (UASs) offer circular economy education. According to the indicator, the amount of ECTS from circular economy education has increased from the academic year 2019–2020 to 2021–2022, though differences between the schools can be seen. This result indicates positive development in the circular economy competence in Finland.

Increase in ECTS credits may be explained, for example, by the increased need of circular economy competence in work life. The increasing cooperation between universities of applied sciences through circular economy projects has also increased the range of courses offered by the schools. In some schools circular economy has even been integrated as part of the curriculum so even more courses have circular economy themes in them.

However, when looking at the results it should be borne in mind that courses that do not mention the term circular economy in their title or course description have been omitted. On the other hand, there can also be great variation in how much circular economy content there is in the courses included in the indicator.

You can download the full list of courses in an Excel-document for further inspection here.

Circular economy related education at the Koulutusta kiertotalouteen portal

The Koulutusta kiertotalouteen portal was launched in the autumn 2021. During the first academic year, altogether 79 courses with 384 ECTS were posted in the portal. Besides Universities of applied sciences also different Universities all over Finland have been active users of the portal.

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More information

  • Senior Research Scientist Kati Pitkänen, Finnish Environment Institute SYKE, firstname.lastname@syke.fi
  • Researcher Tiina Karppinen, Finnish Environment Institute SYKE, firstname.lastname@syke.fi
Published 2020-11-30 at 10:39, updated 2022-06-14 at 15:14
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