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Sustainability of higher education institutions in Taiwan

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Abstract:

Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to provide the rationale and context for recent national policy and funded initiatives to support sustainability developments within higher education in Taiwan, including practical and educational aspects. Concrete examples and specific outcomes are reviewed, to produce a profile across the higher education sector and its diverse range of institutions. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The analysis contained here considers the main policy developments, practical challenges, and future prospects for sustainable development in Taiwanese higher education. The government initiated and funded a national project that connects education and practice for sustainability, the Taiwan Sustainable Campus Program (TSCP), which is profiled in this paper. Findings ‐ In 2009, more than 507 (12 percent) of all institutions have been funded in the TSCP and more than 50 percent of the smallest administrative units in Taiwan now have at least one sustainable campus in the district. Institutions in the program have generated hundreds of teaching modules for various subjects, disseminated sustainability thinking effectively within neighboring communities, and worked extensively at "grass-roots" level with local residents to build more sustainable societies. Themed research has been developed to meet institutional needs for technical advancement to improve the practice of sustainable development. Practical implications ‐ It is hoped that the execution of TSCP will serve as a model for educators and governmental officials, to inform national efforts to promote different methods of sustainability practice and education in different national and social contexts. Originality/value ‐ The success of the TSCP design and implementation mechanisms is evident in the rapid growth in the number of institutions taking part over a short period of time. The level of voluntary and productive participation involved suggests that targeted funding for original approaches to connect sustainability practice and education can be an extremely effective vehicle to promote sustainability in higher education. Recognizing the vigorous competition presently affecting universities, mostly concerning academic publications or revenue for maintaining operations, closer ties with programs and incentives from other governmental agencies, to support research or renovation activities, should help TSCP to become an even more sustainable and productive endeavour.

Keywords: Higher education; Sustainable development; Taiwan; Universities

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/14676371011031883

Publication date: 2010-01-01

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