Dollar Academy signs Memorandum of Understanding with The University of Stirling

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Dollar Academy and The University of Stirling have joined forces to progress FIDA’s pioneering approach to education in Scotland.

Dollar Academy has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) agreement with the University of Stirling to formalise their shared commitment to furthering the vision and objectives of the Futures Institute at Dollar Academy (FIDA) and Scotland’s International Environment Centre (SIEC).

The MoU outlines the institutions’ joint approach to exploring accreditation of new qualifications developed by FIDA, as well as formulating and delivering a programme of sustainable enterprise and entrepreneurship under SIEC and FIDA, Dollar Academy’s progressive educational programme. The programme will support young people to generate creative responses to sustainable development challenges and turn them into real-world products and services.

The partnership will also see the University collaborate closely in the development of FIDA’s sustainability diploma as it seeks to obtain formal accreditation with the potential of offering students a direct path into higher education. The University of Stirling has pledged its support in helping FIDA ensure that the course is held in at least equal regard to other school qualifications in terms of university entrance requirements, widening access to higher education via an alternative to the more traditional SQA (Scottish Qualifications Authority) pathway.

Ian Munro, Rector of Dollar Academy and founder of FIDA, said: “We’re delighted to have the support of the University of Stirling in ensuring our FIDA qualifications can enable direct entry to higher education. At the same time, the collaboration will provide learners with access to a wider range of resources – including experts at the University – which will further broaden their learning experiences as well as providing a valuable insight into different career pathways.

“We also look forward to working with the University and Scotland’s International Environment Centre to turn the ideas generated by youngsters through FIDA courses into real-world products and services.”

John Rogers, Executive Director of Research, Innovation and Business Engagement at the University of Stirling, said: “The University of Stirling has an unshakeable belief in the power of ideas to inspire the next generation. Our Memorandum of Understanding with the Futures Institute at Dollar Academy is an important milestone opportunity to support the school to further develop this groundbreaking educational platform, allowing all schoolchildren in Scotland to explore ideas and challenge established ways of thinking.

“This ambitious collaboration will empower futures generates to face the challenges presented by a changing world, and respond with creative and sustainable solutions, supporting them and the communities around them to realise their full potential.”

Launched in May 2021 in collaboration with leading figures from industry and education, FIDA has placed Dollar Academy at the forefront of educational innovation in Scotland. To date, the initiative has offered over 900 young people across the country the opportunity to learn in a different way, by undertaking courses that are built on three core principles:

· learners are required to design a solution to a real-world problem;

· each course is rooted in one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals;

· all content is co-created with experts from industry and/ or universities.

With principles aligned to those of FIDA, SIEC – established at the University of Stirling as part of the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal – works collaboratively with a broad spectrum of academic researchers, students, and external partners to create an ‘innovation community’ in the Forth Valley. By driving the creation of a net zero regional economy, SIEC will act as a global exemplar of sustainable, low-carbon prosperity.

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