Higher Education and Sustainable Development
promoting sustainable development led to the concept of „education for sustainable development‟. Subsequently, in 2002, the United Nations declared 2005-14 as the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, with the objective of integrating the principles and practices of sustainable development into all aspects of education and learning, and appointed UNESCO as the lead implementing agency. But what is „sustainable development‟ and what is the role of higher education in promoting it? Sustainable development is a concept that is not new, and yet it is complex and not easy to define. In 1987, the Brundtland report from the World Commission on Environment and Development defined it as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. This remains the most quoted definition, although there is continuous evolution in the way sustainable development is operationalised. The International Association of Universities, or IAU, has been active in encouraging universities to promote sustainable development since the 1990s and, in 1993, adopted a policy statement known as the Kyoto Declaration on Sustainable Development. Although this declaration dates back to over two decades, it is remarkably comprehensive and outlines all the fundamental issues concerning the role of universities in promoting sustainable development.
The opening clause urges universities to seek, establish and disseminate a clearer understanding of sustainable development. The IAU has continued to maintain sustainable development as one of its key action areas and has developed an online portal on Higher Education for Sustainable Development in order to encourage higher education institutions around the world to network and showcase their activities through the portal. Sustainable development based research and education is the back bone of a nation. Moreover, sustainable development policies highlight the role of education which has become the need of the day to create the awareness among the students, researchers and teachers as well as in local communities for environment protection. The present paper gives an overview regarding the role of research and higher education in the development of a country in sustainable manner. Attempts have also been made to summarise the status of higher education system in the country and various national and state funding agencies which are working for the R & D programmes in the country.
Keywords: sustainable development, research, Higher education, India.