On September 22, 2022, members of the Business Studies Department attended a session hosted by the Human Resource Department (HRD) Committee on “Role of Higher Educational Institutions in Sustainable Development”.
Dr. Ramanadh Kasturi, a senior academic member in the Business Studies department, was the resource person. He emphasized the importance of the role of higher educational institutions, which include all post-secondary institutes of academic and professional training for individuals, in achieving sustainable development. According to the resource person, sustained development is "development that meets the needs of the present without jeopardizing future generations' ability to meet their own needs." In addition, Dr. Ramanadh magnified the vision of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), which is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) education sector response to the urgent and dramatic challenges faced by planet earth. During the session, the vision of ESD, such as advancing policy, learning environment, educators, youth, and community, was heavily emphasized.
The focus during the session was also on "innovation and research." Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The session inevitably led to motivating the faculty to engage in research and scholarly work. The resource person focused on how a faculty member who engages in research and scholarly work can better engage his/her students for their future development. Further, the resource person emphasized that research and innovation by Higher Education Institutions (HEI) help societies to identify and explore the possibilities for optimum utilization of natural and human resources. Its benefits include identifying the needs and markets for goods and services; promotion; penetration; and market expansion.
The interesting aspect of the session was during the discussion on Oman's performance indicators. The priorities of Vision 2040 were discussed comprehensively along with the targets to be achieved by HEI’s in Oman.
Bottlenecks associated with achieving sustainable development in the form of lack of education and awareness, social and gender inequalities, acceptance of diversity, misled youth and low participation in social and civic decisions were also discussed. The focus was also on the contribution of HEI’s to the environment. The resource person emphasized that many HEI’s are involved in active research to identify, analyze, and provide solutions to environmental challenges. He opined that many universities have developed and modified their curricula in response to the environmental challenges, providing possible solutions and making necessary recommendations for policymakers. The presentation turned livelier with the active participation of the attendees, each expressing their valuable opinions on the role of higher educational institutions in sustainable development.