Student attitudes towards and skills for sustainable development 2014

Tags: NUS | sustainable development | higher education | HEA | survey | student attitudes

A survey has found that 80% of students believe that sustainable development should be actively promoted and incorporated by UK universities, a belief which increases as they progress through their studies. This is one of the findings of Student attitudes towards and skills for sustainable development by the Higher Education Academy (HEA) and the National Union of Students (NUS). It is the fourth consecutive year in which the survey has been run, as part of a longitudinal study into student attitudes towards sustainable development in UK higher education. Findings of the research reinforce the conclusions of the three previous reports (responded to during academic years 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13), providing a remarkably similar set of data during a period of significant change in higher education and a fluctuating economy. Over two thirds of the surveyed students feel that sustainable development is something which should be included in their university courses - a belief consistently reported since the first survey taken in 2010-11. Sixty per cent of domestic students revealed a desire to learn more about sustainable development, a figure which rises to 75% amongst international students. The survey, of nearly 5,600 first- and second-year students in total, also found that while students believed skills for sustainably development are overwhelmingly expected to be important for employment. Respondents also showed a desire for roles that effect positive social and environmental change with approximately half of respondents willing to make a salary sacrifice of £3000 to work in this type of role.