Swinburne information systems lecturer, Dr Jason Sargent, has achieved global success at this year’s QS International Higher Education Impact Award in Valencia, Spain.
Dr Sargent won the first ever Best Staff Mobility Experience award for Swinburne’s IT for Social Impact India study tour, a project that helped improve access to technology for communities and school children in India.
The award recognises the impact of international mobility experiences on the personal lives and achievements of both staff and students. It also celebrates the dedication and effort that goes into developing these life-changing experiences.
“To be recognised by international peers who design and support short-term mobility student projects is a huge honour I accept on behalf of my students who journey through India with me and colleagues who have supported me,” says information systems lecturer, Dr Sargent.
“It’s wonderful to see Swinburne on the map as an institution for delivering world-class local and global IT for Social Impact projects.”
The India tour links students with community groups in Mumbai and villages including Pal and Jamnya to explore ways of providing positive social impact through technology.
Passionate about making a positive change, Dr Sargent has accompanied students on two trips to India since the program started in 2014.
“The underlying reason I continue to run these types of projects is the intimate and unrestricted access student teams have into the organisations and communities of the countries we visit,” says Dr Sargent.
“We hope we can light the fire of passion for technology in one or all of the Indian students and particularly the female students.
Student, Rosie Caruana, enjoys her time with students while on the IT for Social Impact India study tour.
“The freedom given to our students to design the activities builds their confidence immediately. They learn to be agile in all senses of the word.”
The tours are funded through the New Colombo Plan and made possible through a partnership with CERES Global, a not-for-profit organisation based in Melbourne that offers international exchanges, as well as local non-government organisations in India.
Dr Sargent will be leading another IT for Social Impact study tour to India in December.
“This year we will be taking Google Cardboard and Augmented Reality headsets. Keep in mind the Indian students we work with in the villages mostly have no access to computers, touch-screen technologies and the like,” says Dr Sargent.