Creating inclusive curricula in higher education

Creating inclusive curricula in higher education Patrick Blessinger, Enakshi Sengupta and Mandla Makhanya St John’s University, USA, The HETL Association, USA and The University of South Africa The ongoing development, growth and stability of modern economic and democratic systems require that people engage in continual education and training throughout the course of their lives – that is, lifelong and lifewide learning. As a result of this contemporary reality, higher education systems around the world, including both formal and non-formal types of learning, have experienced unprecedented change in the past few decades in the areas of democratisation, internationalisation and treating lifelong learning as a human right. These changes have been driven by underlying factors such as social movements, economic forces, legal reforms, technological innovation and changing student needs and demographics. The changes have brought with them a renewed focus on inclusion and equity as paramount issues in the shifting paradigm of higher education. The increased attention to equity and inclusion have, in turn, led [...]

Humanising higher education via inclusive leadership

The demand for higher education of all types is at an all-time high. As the world becomes more integrated and interdependent through the processes of globalisation and internationalisation and more driven by and dependent on advanced knowledge, skills and competencies, lifelong learning has not only become a necessity for economic development and social progress, but it is now recognised as a human right.

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, [...]

The shifting paradigm of higher education

The shifting paradigm of higher education Patrick Blessinger, Shai Reshef and Enakshi Sengupta St John’s University, New York City, USA, The University of the People, USA, and The American University of Kurdistan The word paradigm comes from the Greek meaning framework or example. Thus, broadly defined, a paradigm is a related set of concepts and practices (that is, a mode of inquiry together with the related theories, principles, models, taxonomies, methods, rules and assumptions) that define and provide the example of or the framework for a given knowledge domain (science, humanities, art) and discipline and field.  So, from an educational perspective, at the domain level, there is the scientific paradigm, the humanistic paradigm and the artistic paradigm. Fields are particular areas of study within a discipline, or that cut across several disciplines, and they are usually centred on applied knowledge (for example, professions, careers or occupations). It is typically from fields that communities of practice emerge. Many [...]

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 [...]

Higher education’s social responsibility to refugees

Higher education’s social responsibility to refugees Patrick Blessinger and Enakshi Sengupta St. John's University (NYC), USA and American University of Kurdistan The number of displaced people around the world has reached unprecedented levels. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHCR, estimates that more than 65 million people worldwide have been forcibly displaced from their homes due to extreme violence, war, persecution and similar factors.  Currently, people are being displaced at a rate of about 20 people per minute. Particularly disturbing is that most of the growth in displaced people has occurred over the past five years. About one-third of the 65 million displaced people are classified as refugees. Over 50% of all refugees are children. The UNHCR defines a refugee as a person who is forced to leave her or his home country to escape extreme violence, war, persecution and man-made disasters and is granted asylum in another country.  Most displaced people come [...]

Globalisation requires us to foster global citizens

Globalisation requires us to foster global citizens Patrick Blessinger and Enakshi Sengupta St. John's University (NYC), USA and American University of Kurdistan Education and lifelong learning hold the key to addressing many of the world’s problems. Of course, education alone is not a sufficient condition for resolving these problems, but it is a necessary one, for it is within the fertile soil of humanistic education, grounded in democratic principles and universal human rights, that the seeds of political, economic, social and technological development can take root and grow. Authentic humanistic education provides the catalyst for summoning forth the best about humans – their innate drive to learn and create, their capacity for empathy and compassion towards others and their remarkable ability to come together to put in place humane policies and rules by which to govern society and relations between nations.  In short, education and lifelong learning provide hope in [...]

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