Professor Madeleine Atkins
Chief Executive Officer
Higher Education Funding Council for England
Dear Professor Atkins
In 2009, Hefce published an updated strategic statement and action plan on sustainable development in the higher education sector following feedback received on the consultation document HEFCE 2008/18.
This document [2009/03] contained the following sections:
#48. The greatest contribution HE can make to sustainable development is by enabling students to acquire the skills and knowledge that allow them to make a lasting difference. What they learn and what they are taught are therefore critical.
#74. It remains our view that the greatest contribution that universities and colleges can make to sustainable development is through the values, skills and knowledge that students learn and put into practice.
These statements were widely welcomed across the sector for their unequivocal view that student learning is not just fundamental to higher education’s contribution to sustainable development, but is also the greatest contribution that universities and colleges can make. At the time, the Council was clearly in the vanguard of such thinking across the world.
It is, therefore, very disappointing to hear that these sentiments have been omitted from the final draft of the Council's 2014 Sustainable Development Framework. I do hope that you can tell me that I have been misinformed, and that this is not the case.