Global South-Global North student teachers interact to innovate on contextually relevant education and sustainable pedagogies

An intensive two-week student teacher education exchange program “Childhood development and sustainable pedagogies” took place between the University of Oulu (UOULU) and the University of Namibia (UNAM) on April 29th–May 12th, 2024. The initiative is part of the Global Innovation Network for Teaching and Learning (GINTL) partnership aiming to foster a critical Global North–Global South partnership through intercultural dialogue. Six students from each university were selected to join the programme. Within the co-creation framework, students and teacher educators brought together their expertise, knowledge, cultures and passion, collaboratively creating teaching and learning content that is responsive to their local contexts and relevant to global challenges.
Students and teacher educators gathered in front of the Early Childhood and Junior Primary Education Blog, Khomasdal Campus, University of Namibia, Windhoek in May 2024.

During the first week, the Namibia-Oulu team visited the LASTU daycare center at Oulu University and several primary schools in Oulu. We discussed STEAM and play pedagogy implementation in our diverse contexts and created new, richer meanings of seemingly familiar concepts. Through drama, discussion and play, we found our way to the core of childhood and learning in the changing world.

The following week, the team visited daycares and primary schools in the Windhoek area. It was a significant experience, as we felt the need and reason to bring back our culture(s) to Finnish schools. Community fosters a sense of belonging, which we were amazed to find even in the classroom management strategies. We learned how the use of song, dance and joint praise can create a supportive environment that sees the needs of individuals as a community. Bringing our personality to the classroom takes courage and vulnerability but brings us closer to the most important colleague, the learner.

Beyond any tips or tricks, we experienced a collaboration of respect and love that brings immeasurable value both professionally and personally. This Global South–Global North partnership allowed our pedagogical approaches rooted in individuality, collectivity, and indigenous knowledge to intertwine in a discourse of mutual respect for socially, environmentally and economically sustainable pedagogies. Finding a static answer to complex issues is not the goal nor even possible, but through reflection and community, we can create an equilibrium that welcomes change. Throughout the school visits and intensive interaction and dialogue among the students and the locals, we took significant steps in developing responsiveness to both the local contexts and the broader global complexities. As a result, this initiative is in line with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 4 and 17, which emphasize quality education and global partnerships. You can read more about the GINTL project between the University of Oulu and University of Namibia from here.

Supported by Global Innovation Network for Teaching and Learning (

This text is collectively written by the six students from the University of Oulu who participated in the two-week programme.

Last updated: 25.6.2024