East Africa University Researchers learn from Brazil’s Experience with Sustainability

At the 3rd Global Forum in Rio de Janeiro Brazil, Shiv Tripathi from Mzumbe University in Tanzania and Ajai Prakash from KCA University in Kenya visited ISAE in Curitiba, Brazil. The purpose of their trip was to learn more about ISAE’s approach to embedding sustainability into their curriculum. As a result of this meeting, the faculty involved put together a case study to allow others to learn more about some of the lessons that ISAE has already gained along this journey.

I had the chance to speak with Shiv after Rio about his trip to Curitiba and the ISAE case study.

1. Why did you decide to visit ISAE?

We first met ISAE President Prof. Norman de Paula during the PRME Latin America Conference in Buenos Aires (December, 2011). We were impressed by ISAE’s community partnership based responsible management education approach so we wanted to explore how ISAE was doing this. In July, after the PRME 3rd Global Forum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil we had the opportunity to visit ISAE and learn about their work in person. We wanted to collect some cases – examples of management institutions’ role in poverty eradication for a proposed PRME book publication project. Fortunately, ISAE was willing to share its stories.

2. What are some of the most interesting findings from that meeting?

There were several interesting findings from the meeting. First, we were very interested in how ISAE demonstrates how institutions can integrate PRME philosophy into institutional mission/vision. They are developing a model for adoption of the responsible management education approach by actively engaging management, faculty, staff and students. The institution receives encouraging support from industry and community organizations. Most importantly, it does not aim to handle directly the community development activities, rather ISAE’s efforts are focused on strengthening the management capacity of other organizations engaged in helping to promote sustainable development.

3. Is Brazil’s approach very different from yours at home in Tanzania?

Yes, one could feel the difference in approach around integrating ethics and program curriculum. Here, in most cases I’ve seen the institutions treating ethics teaching as piece-meal approach i.e. offering a course or part of course on ethics and sustainability. At ISAE they are already actively working to integrate contents and methodology for ethics in the entire value-chain of programs by including it in all need-based subject areas. Their goal is truly to mainstream ethics and sustainability in management education.

4. How are you hoping the case will be used by others?

While developing the case, efforts were made to address the responsible management education challenges like content integration, student involvement, methodology, capacity building, etc. So it could be used to analyze the different implementation issues in the different settings by focusing on ISAE’s model. It could also be used as a model for ‘change management’ towards responsible management education. Further, the objective is to use the case in capacity-building training for institutions willing to adopt responsible management education and PRME.

5. What lessons from your trip are you able to apply to your programmes?

We are taking back quite a few lessons from this meeting to our campus around how to integrate ethics into the curriculum in particular. Ethics and sustainability need to be mainstreamed into all of our core and elective course offerings instead of only teaching dedicated courses in this area. In order to bring about this change, we need to integrate the topics not just into teaching but also in our research and outreach value change. Strong positive leadership, a belief in the concept of responsible management education and commitment at all levels is the key to making these changes.

To access the case click here.

To learn more about ISAE’s efforts around sustainability click here.


2 thoughts on “East Africa University Researchers learn from Brazil’s Experience with Sustainability

  1. We look forward to hearing more from Dr. Tripathi at the AoM Africa conference in Johannesburg and the PRME session there.

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