One of the traditional core missions of higher education is innately conservative: to conserve and transmit knowledge and culture for and to future generations. However, universities are also expected to create new knowledge and understanding by means of research.
Innovation is highly valued in modern, generally competitive, societies. This overflows from scientific discovery and increasingly its application as technological change in the form of the Fourth Industrial Revolution feeds into change more broadly as envisaged in Society 5.0 – for example to enable greater equality, valuing of diversity, and globalisation.
The shared ecological condition known as the Extinction Crisis has been added to the UN-driven effort to address human development through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These 17 Goals were set to be attained by 2030 by and for all nations.
The SDGs embrace all areas of life and endeavour, including Goal 4, Education, and within that higher education and also lifelong learning. Their reach however, like that of Higher Education itself, is into every corner of learning, knowledge and understanding. They require action within and across all the Goals - a massive challenge to the universal tendency to compartmentalise for easier understanding and management.