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3 rd International Congress on Upper-Secondary and Higher Education Building Knowledge Societies for a Sustainable Future Mexico City, 15-17 November 2010.

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Presentation on theme: "3 rd International Congress on Upper-Secondary and Higher Education Building Knowledge Societies for a Sustainable Future Mexico City, 15-17 November 2010."— Presentation transcript:

1 3 rd International Congress on Upper-Secondary and Higher Education Building Knowledge Societies for a Sustainable Future Mexico City, 15-17 November 2010 EDUCATION IN THE NEW MILLENNIUM “Promoting Sustainable Development through Higher Education” By Prof Goolam Mohamedbhai Former Secretary-General, Association of African Universities Former President, International Association of Universities Former Vice-Chancellor, University of Mauritius

2 What is Sustainable Development? A difficult concept to understand Very complex to define SD is broader than environmental protection Education for SD is not just environmental education Bruntland Commission definition (1987): “SD is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”

3 Why is HE Important In Promoting SD? Education (all levels) is a powerful tool for achieving SD. Hence UN Decade of Education for SD (2005-2014) HE trains teachers, professionals, future leaders Through research, HE helps to find solutions to social & technical problems HE has expertise in many areas, thus can adopt a multi- disciplinary approach HE can reach out to vulnerable sections of society through community service HE creates an informed & engaged citizenry, thus promotes a democratic culture HE promotes understanding & tolerance, hence peace

4 How Can HE Promote Sustainable Development? 1.Curriculum reform 2.New pedagogical approaches 3.Teacher training 4.Postgraduate/continuing education programmes 5.Research 6.Community Engagement 7.Campus Greening

5 1. Curriculum Reform Introduce one compulsory module for all students, explaining SD concepts & creating awareness of global SD challenges SD then to be mainstreamed in all curricula All programmes to adopt a multi-disciplinary approach, interlinking natural, applied & social sciences Concepts of ethics and social responsibility to be introduced In engineering, architecture, agriculture, economics, etc. students to be conscious of the environmental, social, economic impact of their professions

6 2. New Pedagogical Approaches Teach through understanding & analysis, rather than learning facts Encourage multidisciplinary project work All programmes to develop generic skills: - team work - critical thinking - creativity & innovation, ‘to think outside the box’ - systems thinking & holistic approach Introduce concept of ‘think globally, act locally’

7 3. Teacher Training Teacher training a major responsibility for HE Best approach to promote SD is to introduce it at primary & secondary schools Most school teachers however have not been trained to inculcate SD concepts to pupils Curricula of all teacher training programmes for new teachers must incorporate SD concepts Existing teachers must be re-trained, may have to use DE & online learning

8 4. Postgraduate/Continuing Education Programmes Running of ‘conversion’ programmes in SD for graduates in any field Specialist programmes for disseminating latest knowledge in e.g. deforestation, water resources, food security. ‘Master in Development Practice’ (MDP) – launched by Earth Institute of Columbia University Running of continuing education programmes to update professionals in e.g. architecture, engineering, agriculture, on latest findings on effect of their work on SD

9 5. Research HEIs are well-positioned to study & find solutions to SD problems PhD research on SD can be very useful Most HEIs cover several disciplines – facilitates multi- disciplinary research, vital for finding SD solutions HEIs can undertake research to guide policy makers on SD issues HEIs have international links, so they can collaborate and learn from each other’s experiences

10 6. Community Engagement Provision of consultancy service on SD to industry & professions Running of seminars/workshops on SD to sensitise the community Creating awareness of SD by serving on national committees and participating in relevant fora In their community service activities, faculty can reach out to disadvantaged (e.g. rural) areas & provide assistance Students form a huge pool of resources for assisting in community service

11 7. Campus Greening HEIs must practice what they preach about SD Introduce energy-saving measures & use renewable energy sources Encourage reduction in use of paper & other materials Recycle waste products Create a pleasant, healthy & safe campus environment Encourage students to participate fully in process Governance & management practices must be consultative, participatory, fair, transparent & accountable

12 What are the Constraints/Challenges to Promoting SD? Current departmental academic structure not conducive to promoting SD Faculty reluctant to apply multi-disciplinary approach – prefer specialist, single discipline-based approach Faculty still teach by providing knowledge – no experience in problem-solving, systems-based approach Research & community engagement in SD not well developed

13 What Should be the Strategies for HE? Review academic structure of HEIs to facilitate multi- disciplinarity Faculty must be trained to use SD approach – use of DE & online learning Within institutions create consciousness of SD using both top-down & bottom-up approach Run new programmes at undergraduate & postgraduate levels to promote SD Encourage staff & students to promote Campus Greening

14 What Should be the Strategies for HE? (Cont’d) All current primary/secondary teacher-training curricula need to be revised to introduce new approach & SD concepts HEIs to involve industry, professions, employers & policy makers in working together for promoting SD Creating Regional Centres of Expertise (RCEs) promoted by UNU-IAS is an excellent way of doing this HEIs should link up with institutions which have experience in promoting SD


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