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Finding Space for Education for Sustainable Development in the Enterprise Economy

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The promotion of education for sustainable development (ESD) is likely to be constrained by its compatibility with other missions and objectives of higher education institutions (HEIs). Finding space for ESD in the Enterprise Economy invites consideration of opportunities for increasing the visibility and audibility of environmental messages in HE sectors primarily committed to equipping national economies with skilled graduates. A survey of undergraduates registered for a physical geography module at the National University of Singapore was undertaken for three successive cohorts. Students fundamentally associate sustainability with resource-based definitions and usually construct environmental issues in terms of access to and utilization of the resource base. A limited articulation of environmental problems in neighbouring countries suggests that a geographical perspective (emphasizing space and scale) could be usefully enhanced. However, the role of the geography discipline in best serving ESD is ambiguous given the need to infuse ideas through traditional disciplinary boundaries. Reflections on environmental awareness and attitudes among students in Singapore concur with UNESCO recognition that models for ESD must be locally defined in culturally appropriate ways.

Keywords: Education for sustainable development; Singapore; environmental attitudes; knowledge-based economy; knowledge-enterprise

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: National University of Singapore, Department of Geography, Singapore

Publication date: July 1, 2006

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