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Higher education for a sustainable world

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Abstract:

Purpose ‐ The paper aims to explore the nature and purpose of higher education (HE) in the twenty-first century, focussing on how it can help fashion a green knowledge-based economy by developing approaches to learning and teaching that are social, networked and ecologically sensitive. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The paper presents a discursive analysis of the skills and knowledge requirements of an emerging green knowledge-based economy using a range of policy focussed and academic research literature. Findings ‐ The business opportunities that are emerging as a more sustainable world is developed requires the knowledge and skills that can capture and move then forward but in a complex and uncertain worlds learning needs to non-linear, creative and emergent. Practical implications ‐ Sustainable learning and the attributes graduates will need to exhibit are prefigured in the activities and learning characterising the work and play facilitated by new media technologies. Social implications ‐ Greater emphasis is required in higher learning understood as the capability to learn, adapt and direct sustainable change requires interprofessional co-operation that must utlise the potential of new media technologies to enhance social learning and collective intelligence. Originality/value ‐ The practical relationship between low-carbon economic development, social sustainability and HE learning is based on both normative criteria and actual and emerging projections in economic, technological and skills needs.

Keywords: Higher education; Learning; Skills; Sustainable development

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/00400911011068432

Publication date: August 17, 2010

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