Sustainability, an academic model

CAPITALISM AND THE role of private enterprises are being questioned worldwide following the current economic slowdown. There is widespread consensus that a lack of effective regulation in the private sector coupled with unethical decisions taken by corporate leaders has triggered the economic downturn. Consequently, today the necessity of sustainable business models is being acutely felt. In consonance with this need, higher education is actively trying to accommodate these models.

NEED OF THE HOUR Sustainability should become the guiding principle of businesses. We can no longer undermine its value by comprehending it as an abstraction that merely harbours theoretical concern. Sustainability is rapidly becoming an internationally acknowledged framework for economic welfare and application of social sciences.

With regards to climate change, the fourth assessment report of the [PCC has proved scientifically that warming of the planet is unequivocal and most of the warming that took place in the last 50 years was due to human action. So it is important to 'understand' the source of these actions. By 'understanding: I mean an analytical understanding of human behaviour, actions and acquired instincts. Social sciences should gradually adopt a sustainable approach towards 'learning' the dynamics of society and face the challenge of 'educating' thoughtless human reflexes through the curriculum.

UNDERSTANDING WISE A sustainable educational format is likely to be the fulcrum that will finally hold a range of disciplines together. To understand the dynamics of sustainability, it is important to understand that irresponsible energy consumption is leading the world towards geopolitical risks and supply constraints. Besides, conventional fossil sources of energy generate carbon emissions that has a detrimental impact on the climate. Therefore, for a sustainable future, it is important for mankind to switch to clean and renewable sources of energy.

Considering this backdrop, renewable energy studies and applications merit widespread attention. It is important that students are trained in the theoretical and practical aspects of renewable energy and energy management. Programmes in this domain should be structured to enable students to tackle practical problems of design. Moreover, they should be equipped to develop industrial applications and conduct academic research. Courses should go beyond imparting knowledge not only in renewable energy technology and implementation but also in synergetic sectors of energy decision-making such as energy economics and energy conversion technologies.

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