Fostering sustainable learning ecosystems

Fostering sustainable learning ecosystems Patrick Blessinger and Madasu Bhaskara Rao The value of knowledge has grown exponentially over the past several decades. In fact, in the modern era, the value of knowledge has become so important to human and social development that education is now universally recognized as a human right. These three concepts – education, learning, and knowledge - have become inextricably linked. In today’s world, human knowledge is produced primarily through formal learning (institutionalized education such as schools and universities), nonformal learning (self-directed education such as instructional videos, podcasts, blogs, and websites), and informal/incidental learning (everyday life experiences). Thus, the development of new knowledge happens primarily through one’s prior knowledge and personal experiences. To say that all people have a right to education is to imply that all people have a right to learn and acquire knowledge throughout the entirety of their lives – lifelong and lifewide learning. [...]

Towards higher education for a better civil society

Towards higher education for a better civil society Patrick Blessinger, Enakshi Sengupta and Craig Mahoney Higher education around the world is at a juncture. For instance, academics are now challenged to protect academic freedom, to treat lifelong learning as a human right and to reinvent the institutional vision, mission and values so they are compatible with the realities of the emerging world paradigms of globalisation, social responsibility and sustainable development.  To this end, educators must first understand what it means to be a socially responsible institution and their role in civil society. Civil society can be defined as the third sector of society. Whereas the first and second sectors of society include government (that is, the public sector) and business institutions (that is, the private sector), civil society (that is, the civic or community sector) includes all other individuals, groups and institutions (for example, citizens, families, educational, religious, non-profit and non-governmental organisations) that operate, by and large, [...]

New higher education literacies for a sustainable future

New higher education literacies for a sustainable future Patrick Blessinger, Enakshi Sengupta and Mandla Makhanya As the world becomes more interconnected and interdependent, nations face increasing pressure to improve their political, economic, social, technological and environmental infrastructures in order to compete in an increasingly globalised world.  Within this context, perhaps the most fundamental and important component of any nation in the 21st century is its educational system. As societies become more complex – economically, socially, technologically and otherwise – so must their educational systems. To this end, nations have responded by creating diverse educational systems that now consist of many different types of educational institutions, including trade schools, technical colleges, community colleges, liberal arts colleges and research universities, among others.  In a complex society, a one-size-fits-all approach is unable to address all the varied needs of society. Therefore, a highly diverse educational system is seen by many as one of the keys to the promotion of economic [...]

Human Creativity as a Renewable Resource

Human Creativity as a Renewable Resource Patrick Blessinger1; Enakshi Sengupta2; Taisir Subhi Yamin3  1 St. John’s University, New York, USA 2 The International Higher Education Teaching and Learning Association (HETL) 3 The International Centre for Innovation in Education (ICIE) Note: Originally published in: International Journal for Talent Development and Creativity – 6(1), August, 2018; and 6(2), December, 2018. Retrieved from Abstract This article is a scholarly essay that uses secondary data sources together with historical analysis to provide a broad overview of the development of humans throughout their long history on Earth, how humans have slowly decoupled themselves from the Darwinian evolutionary condition by developing language and intelligence which, in turn, has allowed them to adapt the environment to fit their needs instead of simply adapting themselves to fit the harshness of the natural environment and a survival of the fittest principle. Thus, unlike all non-human species, as human society continues to evolve, the [...]

Higher education for a sustainable future

Higher education for a sustainable future Patrick Blessinger, Enakshi Sengupta, and Taisir Subhi Yamin St John’s University, New York City, USA, The American University of Kurdistan, and The International Centre for Innovation in Education For much of human history people used renewable resources to provide the basic energy needed for eating, trading, transporting and simple social development (for example, wind and water for milling and seafaring as well as biomass for heating, cooking and shelter). In other words, in pre-industrial societies, humans, out of the need for survival, learned how to adapt their ways of life to fit the natural rhythms and conditions of their environment. Then, with the advent of the industrial revolution, societies began to use fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas) on a large scale to drive the growth of mass production systems and international trade.  With the advent of post-industrial societies over the past 200 years, [...]

Higher education’s key role in sustainable development

Higher education’s key role in sustainable development Patrick Blessinger, Enakshi Sengupta and Mandla Makhanya St John’s University, New York City, USA, American University of Kurdistan, and University of South Africa The United Nations defines sustainable development as “…development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.  As such, sustainable development not only deals with environmental issues, but economic, social and cultural issues as well. Given the increased demands placed on societies and the environment due to, among other factors, increased human migration, increased urbanisation and industrialisation as well as the ongoing depletion of non-renewable resources, it is clear that global action is needed to create a more sustainable future. Given its primary role as knowledge producer, higher education can serve as a powerful means to help create a more sustainable future. Thus, the concept of ‘education for sustainable development’ has become, in recent [...]

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