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Promotion of sustainability in postgraduate education in the Asia Pacific region

Malik A. Naeem (Asian Institute of Technology, School of Management, Bangkok, Thailand)
Neil W. Peach (University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, Australia)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Article publication date: 11 July 2011




The purpose of this paper is to describe how a consortium of universities in the Asia Pacific region are endeavouring to make a contribution to the implementation of education for sustainable development (ESD) through their participation with and the operation of the Promotion of Sustainability in Postgraduate Education and Research Net project.


The paper describes the evolutionary development of one of the projects of this network (specifically related to ESD in business schools) as the members seek to institute changes at their respective institutions at the same time as contributing to project collaboration in order to enhance the contribution to regional ESD.


The paper discusses the challenges confronting higher education institutions in the context of the decade of education for sustainable development (DESD) and finds that whilst many local actions within universities are being initiated in relation to ESD, there is insufficient cross institutional collaboration occurring to achieve the transformative agenda of ESD. In particular, universities are leaving it to individuals and departments to develop new curriculum for ESD. To overcome this, work is required at a discipline level across the higher education sector (both nationally and internationally) to support curriculum development for ESD.

Practical implications

Issues confronting this project and its consortium members are issues confronting many institutions of higher education (IHE) across the globe as they seek to give effect to the ramifications of ESD. The identification of issues by the project and the steps taken to overcome obstacles will be relevant to many IHE.


The challenges of ESD require not only local changes and improvements (within an organisation) but compel the connection between local and global and consequently between individual organisations and the “system” in which they operate. This applies particularly to individual universities and to the education “system” in relation to ESD, especially as there are considerable expectations of the education system to reorient and reshape our future leaders to understand and incorporate sustainability into their future careers and ways of life. Conventional and traditional approaches to curriculum development at individual universities is impeding the implementation of ESD. This project is endeavouring to develop a model for shared curriculum development which will speed up the implementation of ESD and ensure that individual universities and individual departments can focus on the transformative aspects of ESD in the curriculum.



Naeem, M.A. and Peach, N.W. (2011), "Promotion of sustainability in postgraduate education in the Asia Pacific region", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 12 No. 3, pp. 280-290.



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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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