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Sustainability in higher education: what is happening in Pakistan?

Muhammad Nauman Habib (Department of Management Sciences, City University of Science and Information Technology, Peshawar, Pakistan)
Uzma Khalil (Department of English, City University of Science and Information Technology, Peshawar, Pakistan)
Zunnoorain Khan (Department of Management Sciences, City University of Science and Information Technology, Peshawar, Pakistan)
Muhammad Zahid (Department of Management Sciences, City University of Science and Information Technology, Peshawar, Pakistan)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Article publication date: 4 February 2021

Issue publication date: 22 February 2021

1571

Abstract

Purpose

Sustainability in higher education has gained the attention of researchers and academia; however, there is still a need to explore and assess it from different perspectives that are unexplored. This study aims to evaluate and report sustainability and sustainable development in the higher education sector of Pakistan.

Design/methodology/approach

There are 195 recognized and registered degree awarding institutes in Pakistan. A survey-based study was designed using self-administered questionnaires distributed among the deans of 145 Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) using a simple random sampling technique. Responses were recorded using five-point Likert scale. In this study, 74 HEIs participated while 69 responses were complete in all respects and used for data analysis. Responses were recorded and analyzed using descriptive statistics.

Findings

The results show little evidence of sustainability in all areas of HEIs (including; curriculum, research, faculty, stakeholder’s engagement and governance). Sustainability of campus (operations) was evident and, to a certain extent, apparent in outreach activities. The core objective of HEIs is teaching and research, however, HEIs in Pakistan have yet to accommodate sustainability in these core areas. Sustainability in HEIs of Pakistan is in the preliminary and the introductory stage. For the attainment of sustainability in HEIs, comprehensive planning and internal governance are required.

Research limitations/implications

This study was based on a survey to report the overall situation of sustainability in Pakistan’s HEIs. Therefore, it has the limitation of being a descriptive study. Nevertheless, this study contributed to the body of knowledge by reporting sustainability practices from the Pakistani context. This study helped identify critical aspects of sustainability that require the attention of both regulatory authority and top management.

Originality/value

This is a comprehensive study based on extensive research survey techniques to present and report sustainability in higher education in Pakistan. The data collected represents the major HEIs in Pakistan and has contributed to the body of knowledge by presenting the contemporary and contextual situation of sustainability in HEIs of Pakistan.

Keywords

Citation

Habib, M.N., Khalil, U., Khan, Z. and Zahid, M. (2021), "Sustainability in higher education: what is happening in Pakistan?", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 22 No. 3, pp. 681-706. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSHE-06-2020-0207

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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