Rethinking University Education in Kenya: The Case for ESD in Higher Education

Business Education and indeed, education generally is changing in terms of teaching, research and learning, thus moving from narrow to wider, more holistic education.
Today a dynamic international academia allows a mixing of different knowledge cultures necessary to address business and sustainability questions in society.

This paper therefore explores the rise of cross-disciplinary higher education in Kenya and the implementation of education for sustainable development (ESD) under the UNEP’s MESA programme. It asserts that learning for sustainable development is a joint search by universities, lecturers and their students for knowledge and competencies that
enable them to deal with dilemmas in complex social settings. It submits that, that type of learning asks for authentic and open learning environments in which encounters with a diversity of disciplinary and stakeholder perspectives can take place.

Thus, the paper suggests that cross-disciplinary theory with its cross-disciplinary “knowledge, research, or education as its main objects of study” (Nissani 2004:2) may contribute to a deeper understanding of pluralistic ESD. Accordingly, the paper discusses four crossdisciplinary educational strategies; mono-, multi-, inter-, and transdisciplinary education.

The paper notes that at the moment, unfortunately, education policy in Kenya is not clearly defined and does not optimally support this holistic learning. The paper concludes that learning for sustainable development constitutes a trigger for innovations in education and should therefore be supported.

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