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The green economy learning assessment South Africa: Lessons for higher education, skills and work-based learning

Eureta Rosenberg (Department of Education, Rhodes University Environmental Learning Research Centre, Grahamstown, South Africa)
Heila Betrie Lotz-Sisitka (Department of Education, Rhodes University Environmental Learning Research Centre, Grahamstown, South Africa)
Presha Ramsarup (Rhodes University Environmental Learning Research Centre, Grahamstown, South Africa)

Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning

ISSN: 2042-3896

Article publication date: 29 June 2018

Issue publication date: 7 August 2018

773

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to share and analyse the methodology and findings of the 2016 Green Economy Learning Assessment South Africa, including learning needs identified with reference to the competency framings of Scharmer (2009) and Wiek et al. (2011); and implications for university and work-based sustainability education, broadly conceptualised in a just transitions framework.

Design/methodology/approach

The assessment was conducted using desktop policy reviews and an audit of sustainability education providers, online questionnaires to sector experts, focus groups and interviews with practitioners driving green economy initiatives.

Findings

Policy monitoring and evaluation, and education for sustainable development, emerged as key change levers across nine priority areas including agriculture, energy, natural resources, water, transport and infrastructure. The competencies required to drive sustainability in these areas were clustered as technical, relational and transformational competencies for: making the case; integrated sustainable development planning; strategic adaptive management and expansive learning; working across organisational units; working across knowledge fields; capacity and organisational development; and principle-based leadership. Practitioners develop such competencies through formal higher education and short courses plus course-activated networks and “on the job” learning.

Research limitations/implications

The paper adds to the literature on sustainability competencies and raises questions regarding forms of hybrid learning suitable for developing technical, relational and transformative competencies.

Practical implications

A national learning needs assessment methodology and tools for customised organisational learning needs assessments are shared.

Originality/value

The assessment methodology is novel in this context and the workplace-based tools, original.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This study was commissioned by PAGE and funded by UNITAR. Additional funding was provided by the Green Skills Programme at Rhodes University, through the Green Fund of the Department of Environmental Affairs and the Development Bank of Southern Africa.

Citation

Rosenberg, E., Lotz-Sisitka, H.B. and Ramsarup, P. (2018), "The green economy learning assessment South Africa: Lessons for higher education, skills and work-based learning", Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, Vol. 8 No. 3, pp. 243-258. https://doi.org/10.1108/HESWBL-03-2018-0041

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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