We sought input from various stakeholders to identify gaps in the existing educational program pertaining to green skills and diversity and inclusion in society. These gaps will guide the development of a new multidisciplinary course aimed at addressing these needs. With feedback and responses from over 310 stakeholders, several priority topics have emerged. The following is a summary of these topics, accompanied by detailed descriptions
Summary of the emerged topics:
Regarding green skills, the essential topics highlighted included biodiversity conservation, green energy adoption, carbon emission schemes, sustainable business strategies, and climate change awareness. Additionally, circular economy principles, sustainability education, and interdisciplinary approaches were emphasized.
For inclusivity and diversity, the important topics mentioned encompassed cultural understanding, acceptance, equitable treatment, access to resources, ethical considerations, gender equality, combating discrimination, and fostering an inclusive culture. Participants stressed the significance of teaching history, psychology, and social analysis to address inequality and human rights.
Topics in detail (green skills topics):
According to the survey responses on the essential topics for universities to teach and equip students with green skills, several key areas emerged. One recurring theme was the need to address the urgent global challenges outlined in the AGENDA 2030, moving beyond superficial actions and avoiding greenwashing. Biodiversity conservation, green energy adoption, and the creation of barrier-free environments were emphasized as vital aspects of sustainable development.
A significant focus was placed on understanding and addressing carbon emissions and climate change. Respondents expressed the importance of comprehending carbon emission schemes, policy strategies, and the business-sustainability relationship, especially in challenging sectors. The relevance of carbon accounting, corporate sustainability, environmental regulation, and sustainable business strategies was highlighted for effective environmental stewardship.
A holistic perspective encompassing climate change causes, effects, and mitigation strategies was deemed crucial. Other essential topics mentioned included ecological protection, sustainable use of natural resources, updates in environmental protection, circular economy principles, and biodiversity conservation.
In terms of education, respondents advocated for comprehensive courses covering circular economy fundamentals, the relationship between greenhouse gas emissions and climate challenges, and strategies to promote individual sustainability. The integration of systems thinking, doughnut economics, sustainable management, technical disciplines associated with climate solutions, and entrepreneurial studies were suggested to support the transformation of innovative ideas into reality.
The importance of climate and environmental awareness emerged as a common thread throughout the responses. Understanding climate challenges, climate science, and the social and economic implications of climate change were emphasized. Furthermore, fostering critical thinking skills, interdisciplinary approaches, and the development of problem-solving research abilities were seen as essential for addressing complex sustainability issues.
Other topics that surfaced included environmental education, environmental management, energy efficiency, renewable energy, waste recycling and management, and sustainable development. The significance of sustainability across all disciplines and positions, as well as the promotion of sustainable lifestyles, was also highlighted.
The survey responses underscored the need for universities to take a comprehensive approach to teaching green skills, integrating diverse disciplines, practical activities, and real-world examples. By providing education on these essential topics, universities can equip students with the knowledge and skills required to tackle environmental challenges and contribute to a sustainable future.
Topics in detail (inclusivity and diversity topics):
According to the survey responses on the important topics universities should teach to foster inclusivity and diversity in society, several key themes emerged. Understanding and appreciating different cultures was frequently mentioned as a crucial aspect of fostering inclusivity. Respondents emphasized the need for academic mobility, acceptance, and respect for individuals who are different from oneself. Promoting acceptance, equity, and respecting people from diverse backgrounds were highlighted as important values for building an inclusive society.
Access to resources, public speaking, and language proficiency were identified as essential skills for promoting inclusivity and diversity. Respondents suggested that universities should provide courses and workshops on these topics to equip individuals with the tools needed to engage in diverse settings effectively.
Ethical considerations played a significant role in the responses. Building an ethical student body and nurturing an understanding of differences in worldviews were seen as important for fostering inclusivity. Participants also stressed the significance of gender equality, gender mainstreaming, and awareness of one’s privileges to create a more inclusive society.
Respondents recognized the benefits of diversity for businesses and the importance of diversity courses that address the value of diverse teams and combat discrimination. Creating an inclusive culture, respecting cultural and religious diversity, and offering training for accessibility were identified as key components for fostering inclusivity within universities.
The significance of historical perspectives, social analysis, and psychology were mentioned in relation to understanding the drivers of inequality, climate crisis, and human rights. Participants emphasized the importance of teaching sensitive language, social history, and multicultural education to promote understanding, respect, and acceptance of diverse cultures and norms.
Participants highlighted the need for soft skills development, effective communication, and project management principles. They also suggested that universities address unconscious biases, provide education on creating welcoming environments, and develop strategies for combating discrimination in the workplace and education.
Other important topics mentioned included tolerance, open-mindedness, mental health awareness, the value of underrepresented groups in society, and promoting universal design for environmental change.
In summary, the survey responses emphasize that universities have a vital role in fostering inclusivity and diversity in society. By teaching topics such as cultural understanding, ethical considerations, historical perspectives, and soft skills development, universities can help create a more inclusive and equitable society that embraces diversity in all its forms.