The United Nations defines sustainable development as “…development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. When we talk about sustainability, it is too much linked to the environment alone. But sustainability is far more than environmental issues. Sustainable development is also about economic, social, and cultural issues as well. Education enables upward socioeconomic mobility and is a key to escaping poverty.
A strong education system broadens access to opportunities, improves health, and bolsters the resilience of communities – all while fuelling economic growth in a way that can reinforce and accelerate these processes. Moreover, education provides the skills people need to thrive in the new sustainable economy, working in areas such as renewable energy, smart agriculture, forest rehabilitation, the design of resource-efficient cities, and sound management of healthy ecosystems.
Our purpose should therefore be to make a positive change to the world and for the world. Therefore, it is important to support Universities such as Fatima Al-Fihri Open University, who aims to offer high-quality, low-cost courses accessible to youth around the world. To promote open access to scientific research and use technology to facilitate learning and giving courses in various specialties such as management, politics, migration, gender, etc. with professors from well-ranked universities such Rutgers University (USA), Juan Carlos University (Spain), United Nations University (Costa Rica), American University in Beirut (Lebanon). It does not help much with financial assistance to developing countries if the inhabitants lack knowledge. I believe that if we are to succeed in creating a faster transition to a sustainable world, we must to a greater extent look at how we can contribute to knowledge can be made available through education to more people. Universities such as Fatima Al-Fihri Open University contribute with an affordable education for a wider section of the population.
Perhaps most important, education can bring about a fundamental shift in how we all think, act, and discharge our responsibilities toward one another and the planet. After all, while financial incentives, targeted policies, and technological innovation are needed to catalyse new ways of producing and consuming, they cannot reshape people’s value systems so that they willingly uphold and advance the principles of sustainable development. Schools, however, can nurture a new generation of environmentally savvy citizens to support the transition to a prosperous and sustainable future.
Given its primary role as knowledge producer, higher education can serve as a powerful means to help create a more sustainable future. Thus, the concept of ‘education for sustainable development’ has become, in recent years, one of the core educational initiatives to help address many of the problems associated with human development.
Lifelong learning is broadly defined to include all forms of learning (formal, non-formal, informal) that is undertaken throughout the course of one’s life to acquire or improve one’s knowledge, skills, competencies, and values. So, creating a sustainable future is much more than just creating green campuses or implementing recycling efforts or global citizenship initiatives. It also involve implementing more blended learning programmes, creating new teaching platforms through courses that are reasonably accessible to a larger part of the population around the world. Sustainability must not just be a fancy word used by the rich part of the world. The importance of sustainable management must to a greater extent be understood in general. Thus, access to knowledge and education is important in general.