MAJOR CHALLENGES TO EDUCATION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: CAN THE CURRENT NATURE OF INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER EDUCATION HOPE TO EDUCATE THE CHANGE AGENTS NEEDED FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT ?
Author(s)Ashford, Nicholas A.
Scholars and professionals committed to fostering sustainable development have urged a re-examination of the curriculum and restructuring of research and teaching in institutions of higher learning. This paper begins by discussing an expansive definition of sustainable development that includes economic, environmental, and employment concerns important to both developed and developing nations; then distinguishes inter-disciplinary, multi-disciplinary, and trans-disciplinary problem solving; and finally argues that the policy sciences are different from policy engineering. The paper then addresses the following themes and questions: (1) How can multi- and trans-disciplinary research and teaching coexist in a meaningful way in today’s university structures? (2) Does education relevant to sustainable development require its own protected incubating environment to survive, or will it otherwise be gobbled up and marginalized by attempting to instill it throughout the traditional curriculum and traditional disciplines? (3) How can difficulties in linking the needed teaching and research be overcome? (4) Even if there exist technical options to do so, how can it be made safe for courageous students to take educational paths different from traditional tracks and find adequate financial support for their studies? (5) What roles can national and EU governments have in accelerating the needed changes? and (6) What can we learn from comparative analysis of universities in different nations and environments?
education, industrial policy, interdisciplinary, labour, multidisciplinary, policy, policy analysis, policy engineering, sustainability, sustainable development, transdisciplinary