The COVID-19 pandemic has led Spanish universities to draw roadmaps for the future that inevitably include the implementation of the Agenda 2030 and its 17 SDGs. Several key actions have been promoted within the Conference of Rectors of Spanish Universities (CRUE) and implemented by its working groups in order to support the Spanish higher education system in addressing the COVID-19 crisis through sustainable development lenses.
The priority action area has been SDG 4, ensuring quality of university education during the lockdown through re-thinking teaching and learning as well as assessment methods. SDG 3 has also been a key priority in order to support public health systems while protecting the vulnerable groups working and studying at Spanish universities. SDG 11 has been critical to reduce inequalities, and SDGs 9 and 10 have been addressed through supporting key alliances for technological innovation and research.
More specifically, the following actions were promoted by CRUE to face the COVID-19 crisis taking into account the Agenda 2030:
- In partnership with Banco Santander, CRUE has launched a Funding Program Fondo Supera COVID-19, which supports specific university-driven actions and R&D projects related to the COVID-19 pandemic. A key funding strand was for projects addressing the SDGs.
- Specific practical guides and working documents have been developed to assess occupational risks in the work place, support home-office work with special attention to the gender perspective, and provide recommendations for student assessment.
- Specific working groups and collaboration have been initiated with key stakeholders and authorities to manage the post-COVID-19 period and to foster the digitalization of Spanish universities.
- Different online courses have been organized to encourage the digital competences of students, teachers and administrative staff.