For the past couple of years, the (almost wholly) admirable NUS (supported by the HEA) has carried out research which showed that a majority of first year university students say that they want to learn about sustainability through their degree, seeing that this will help them in their future employability. A significant feature of this, for me, is that the students say they want this to be integral to their studies, and not some free-standing provision:
Over two thirds of 2011 first and second-year respondents (66.6% and 70.3% respectively), as in 2010 (70%), believe that sustainability should be covered by their university. There is a continued preference among students for a reframing of curriculum content rather than additional content or courses.
It’s good to see that there is to be a third survey this autumn. NUS says it will cover issues such as understanding of sustainable development, skills development, perception of skills for employability, and the role of HEIs in developing these understandings and skills. All very welcome.