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Sustainability tool seeks “common language”

An initiative designed to offer a standardised measure of sustainability education at institutions and monitor the sustainability knowledge of students has just celebrated its first anniversary.

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Over the last year, 50 institutions in more than seven countries have used TASK™

TASK™, The Assessment of Sustainability Knowledge, was created to “make sustainability the new mainstream” and make it a common language, beyond sustainability advocates and experts, according co-founder Aurélien Decamps.

“Everyone should be able to understand what is sustainability and how you can act on it,” he said.

Decamps was speaking with The PIE News during a QS conference in Abu Dhabi in December and more recently presented a session at The PIE Live Europe in London.

The online tool assesses sustainability knowledge from 0 to 100 and “provides universities and organisations with relevant data to make sure that any decision maker can take informed decision when it comes to sustainability”, he explained.

The data can be mined for quality assurance and assessment for institutions, he continued.

“You know, you can do plenty of things, more courses, more teachers, more everything but in the end, what is the impact on your students’ sustainability knowledge? Are you able to measure and to prove that you have an impact on your students?

“Now there is a robust metric for that.”

Over the last year, 50 institutions in more than seven countries have used TASK™, offering more than 11,000 assessments.

As well as allowing institutions to measure the impact of their sustainability provisions – especially how it has been placed within curricula – students obtain certificates to demonstrate their understanding of sustainability.

“Something is happening at the moment. I have the feeling that we really we are re-entering into a different era, a different epoch,” Decamps continued.

With ranking providers, such as the QS sustainability ranking or Times Higher Education’s SDG ranking, as well as business school accreditation providers, taking sustainability into account, students are clearly pushing for more.

“We are arriving with a tool to help universities to have the data to monitor their curriculum redesign”

“[Sustainability] is really everywhere in the landscape, everyone is talking about it, but it’s not yet super structured.

“Everyone claims that they are doing plenty of stuff, putting a lot of things in place, but we don’t have yet a lot of standardised ways of checking how it is done.

“The ranking and accreditations are moving and we are arriving with a tool to help universities to have the data to monitor their curriculum redesign.”

In the context of international exchange, the assessment prepares students to go abroad and onboards international students that arrive on campuses around the world.

“Of course, you send your students flying to the other part of the world so there is a carbon impact, it’s not neutral.

“But at the same time, the whole point should be to build this common culture, this cultural exchange between students, that’s the mission of higher education. Putting sustainability into this agenda is probably not a bad idea.”

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