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Higher education for a sustainable world

John Blewitt (Aston University, Birmingham, UK)

Education + Training

ISSN: 0040-0912

Article publication date: 17 August 2010



The paper aims to explore the nature and purpose of higher education (HE) in the twenty‐first century, focussing on how it can help fashion a green knowledge‐based economy by developing approaches to learning and teaching that are social, networked and ecologically sensitive.


The paper presents a discursive analysis of the skills and knowledge requirements of an emerging green knowledge‐based economy using a range of policy focussed and academic research literature.


The business opportunities that are emerging as a more sustainable world is developed requires the knowledge and skills that can capture and move then forward but in a complex and uncertain worlds learning needs to non‐linear, creative and emergent.

Practical implications

Sustainable learning and the attributes graduates will need to exhibit are prefigured in the activities and learning characterising the work and play facilitated by new media technologies.

Social implications

Greater emphasis is required in higher learning understood as the capability to learn, adapt and direct sustainable change requires interprofessional co‐operation that must utlise the potential of new media technologies to enhance social learning and collective intelligence.


The practical relationship between low‐carbon economic development, social sustainability and HE learning is based on both normative criteria and actual and emerging projections in economic, technological and skills needs.



Blewitt, J. (2010), "Higher education for a sustainable world", Education + Training, Vol. 52 No. 6/7, pp. 477-488.



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