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The Role of Universities in Promoting Sustainability
The Role of Universities in Promoting Sustainability

Author(s): Remigijus Čiegis, Dalia Gineitienė
Subject(s): Economy
Published by: Kauno Technologijos Universitetas
Keywords: economics; economy; sustainable develop-ment; sustainable university; environmental education; education for sustainable devel-opment.

Summary/Abstract: The article deals with some theoretical aspects of the sustainable development of economy, sustainable univer-sity, and the biggest attention is given to educational is-sues. A comparison of the concepts of education for sus-tainable development (ESD) and the environmental edu-cation (EE) is presented. Using theoretical approach the role of universities in the process of promoting sustain-ability as well as problems related to its implementation are discussed. Environmentally responsible citizens accept respon-sibility for what happens in their community – not only environmentally but also politically, and socio-economically. Thus, a primary educational mission should be to teach citizens to be able to influence public decisions where environmental issues are very important. ESD differs from previous approaches to environ-mental education as it focuses on developing links be-tween environmental quality, ecology and socio-economics and the political trends. The nature of ESD requires to give people knowledge and skills for lifelong learning and to help people to find new solutions to the environmental, economic, and social issues. One of the most important roles of institutions of higher education is ESD and especially teaching and re-search necessary to generate the new knowledge on sus-tainable development and training the leaders and teach-ers of tomorrow, as well as communicating this knowl-edge to decision-makers and the public-at-large. It is clear that graduates of any discipline need knowledge about sustainability. Sustainability issues should be integrated within the main functions of a university: education and research processes, different operational activities of the university and its community as well as the relations of the univer-sity with the external community. All institution of higher education, including students, teachers, researchers, ad-ministration and other staff, has to follow sustainable development principles. Universities make a large economic entity consuming a big amount of resources, purchasing products and ser-vices. Thus, they must make sustainability an integral part of the institution’s daily operations (consumption, waste management, use of water, energy, and paper) and also attempt to reduce their ecological footprint. These efforts should be tied to the formal curriculum. Research must help to introduce sustainable devel-opment principles in all areas of university activities in order to assure reasonable use of the resources, education content and process based on sustainable development values.

  • Issue Year: 2006
  • Issue No: 3 (48)
  • Page Range: 56-62
  • Page Count: 7
  • Language: English