Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Edith Cowan University, Western Australia in association with Khon Kaen University, Thailand and Bansomdejchaopraya Rajabhat University, Thailand.


EDU-COM 2008 International Conference. Sustainability in Higher Education: Directions for Change, Edith Cowan University, Perth Western Australia, 19-21 November 2008.


This paper revisits levels of education and sustainable development implementation in university teaching. It suggests tapping expertise in local communities as a social responsibility for sustainability of student‘s human development success. Where success is measured by the students‘self-actualization progress. Student success, qualitative growth, or acquired capacities is seen as a prerequisite for sustainable development. We take a reformist point of view of sustainability. We look at issues of human behaviour, cognition and negotiation over preferred futures, under a given social policy and education act. Sustainability here is viewed as an inherently normative concept, rooted in real world problems with very different sets of values and moral judgments. We suggest ways of moving practice, our policies and decision in the direction of sustainability of effective learning, to provide systems of governance that propagate the values that people want to live by. The research design was ethnographic with sample drawn from four corners o f the country. The paper reports the result of a study on the influence of culture on cognition and language development. The relevance of the study to sustainability is the findings that those students, whose culture was included in the learning culture, were motivated to learn and had higher academic achievement. The paper presents a view that cultural elements ought to be major aims for future development of education knowledge, skills and fundamental attitude change. Culture should be mandatory for teachers in training if universities aim for effective learning. And the community should therefore be engaged as resource for effective learning.