Gap between ambition and action for green skills education revealed

Further and higher education institutions aspire to grow their public leadership role in supporting the transition to a net zero and nature positive future but lack resources a new survey by Times Higher Education (THE) and supported by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) shows. 


A clear ambition for education institutions to engage in growing the green economy was outlined at the global launch of the International Green Learning and Skills Accelerator in Bangkok, Thailand yesterday. 


The Accelerator is intended to catalyse and advance the contribution of higher and further education towards the global transition to a net zero and nature positive future. 


The survey of over 200 educational professionals reveals that while 75% of educational institutions aim to expand green learning, less than 25% have audited their curricula that would make that happen. Key barriers include lack of teacher training, a clear definition of green skills, and sufficient incentives. 


The Accelerator has been created to overcome these boundaries, build new coalitions and rapidly accelerate change. In support of the Green Jobs for Youth Pact, the Accelerator aims to utilise the global breadth of the world’s most ambitious learning institutions and explore how, through collaboration with employers and governments, a new educational offer for learners and youth can be provided. 


Phil Baty, chief global affairs officer, Times Higher Education, said: “Times Higher Education’s mission is to connect people, data and insights to help universities make the world a better place – so it fantastic to launch this vital new resource and content platform with UNEP and Students Organising for Sustainability as it fits this mission exactly. Enabling new coalitions to support education policy change to support more green jobs has the potential for exceptional global impact.” 


Sam Barratt, chief of youth, education and advocacy, UN Environment Programme said: “The shortage of green skills threatens to hold back the global ambitions for a net-zero and nature-positive economy. Working with students and universities to bridge that gap and ensure that employers have a surfeit of talent must be a clearer mission for the education sector. We look forward to working with Times Higher Education and Students Organising for Sustainability to unlock this challenge with education partners across the world.” 


Organisations can register their interest in opportunities for their institution to be involved in this new UN-backed programme by visiting this page.