The main goal of the ENGAGE project is to promote and support students’ engagement within the Higher Education System (HES) in three Partner Countries located in Southeast Asia: Cambodia (KH), Lao PDR (LA), and Myanmar (MM). The project idea originates from the observation of the existing gaps in the HES of these countries for what concerns: the inclusion of students in designing and creating class activities; the possibility to express their own ‘voice’ within the governance institutions of the university and to organize extra-curricular activities through student associations; the engagement with the broader context of the social community at large. ENGAGE builds on and expands the previous experiences of the CHINLONE and TOOLKIT projects including part of the ENGAGE consortium. Specifically, the ENGAGE project intends to address the problem of student engagement from three different perspectives, using three distinct platforms which constitutes the main levels of action for the students: classroom, campus and community.


Lack of students’ engagement in learning and teaching management and planning

The first platform aims at addressing the problem of students' inclusion within the process of designing and managing of learning and teaching activities, transforming them from ‘passive subjects’ to ‘active agents’ of the "Learning and Teaching" (L&T) process.

The problem of a more active participation of students on this level has clearly emerged as the main priority in the surveys and interviews conducted in the three Partner Countries during the previous projects (see paragraph below). The focus on engagement within the ‘classroom’ promotes a ‘student-centered’ approach in which students are not only learners, but are also able to cultivate their critical thinking and practical skills. Being active part of the L&T process is also the first step towards participating into the decision-making and organizational process of the campus life.


Lack of students associations and engagement in University governance

The second platform aims at addressing the problem of student participation in the governance and decision-making process of the universities. The problem of student engagement in the university institutions and organizations has emerged as a crucial point in the preliminary need analysis for the three Partner Countries.

The project intends to address this problem on two different but interconnected levels: the first one focuses on promoting the creation or consolidation of student associations with the twofold goal of organizing extra-curricular activities on campus and providing an orientation and guidance for new incoming students; the second level deals with the issue of student representation in the governance and decision-making bodies of the university, especially for what concerns providing inputs and feedback for improving the quality and transparency of the governance and to include students’ needs and preferences.

This platform is closely related to the concept of ‘student voice’ and how to include it within a process that is generally dominated by unilateral decisions from teachers and administrators.


Lack of student engagement in community development and active citizenship

The third platform aims at addressing the problem of transforming the student engagement and participation on-campus into practices of community development and active citizenship in the social environment at large.

The project intends to address this challenge from two perspectives: the first one aims at improving the quality and efficiency of interconnections between university and local organizations, with the additional goal of improving employability of students; the second perspective focuses on enhancing the social engagement of students in their community in order to promote active citizenship.

The preliminary need analysis of the three Partner Countries has shown an existing basic network of connections between these two contexts in terms of extra-curricular off-campus activities. The project aims at building upon this network for the improvement of the quality and efficiency of these activities. Concurrently, it aims at addressing the critical lack of placement opportunities for students in the field of community development and social work and to promote their role as active citizenship for the development of social communities. In order to achieve this goal, ENGAGE aims at involving local NGOs and other civil society actors and local organizations in the project and to create spaces for this kind of extra-curricular activities for the students.