Higher education institutions as a driver of sustainable social development: Polish experience for Ukraine

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The basis for sustainable and environmentally friendly development is gradually becoming aware of the importance of working more ethically and transparently and in a more humanistic way, as well as addressing the needs of people and society. In this case, the key challenge for higher education institutions (HEIs) is to train the conscious and responsible citizens who can take care of the country’s future. This article focuses on comparing the ability of HEIs in Poland and Ukraine to promote sustainable development (SD) by implementing the concept of social responsibility (SR). The research is based on the methods of statistical analysis, sociological survey, case study, abstract-logical, tabular and graphical method. The paper argues that HEIs have a wide range of tools to promote SD. These tools should be divided into three groups, namely: 1) including SD issues in educational programs; 2) developing knowledge and solutions for SD; 3) creation and participation in SR initiatives. The proposed mechanism of the impact of HEIs on SD through the implementation of the concept of SR will allow HEIs to take an active part in the life of the region and the country, namely: identify the needs, engage the stakeholders, facilitate the interaction, disseminate the effective practices, and develop SD strategies. The practical value of the obtained results is that the implementation of SR initiative by HEIs will promote the environmentally friendly development of the country and regions. As a result, it will increase the impact of HEIs on economic, technology and cultural development, human capital formation, solving social problems, building civil society, improving the environmental status.

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    • Figure 1. Number of SR practices under the items of the Declaration of HEIs’ SR
    • Figure 2. Number of SR practices of HEIs in Poland under the SDGs
    • Figure 3. The mechanism of HEIs impact on SD through the implementation of SR concept
    • Table 1. Summary statistics for SDGs in Poland and Ukraine
    • Table 2. Demographic characteristics of the respondents, %
    • Table 3. Respondents’ answers to the question: Select the most appropriate statement to describe the level of HEIs’ impact
    • Table 4. Respondents’ answers to the question: How well do you know the concept of social responsibility?
    • Table 5. Respondents’ answers to the question: Please evaluate the readiness of the higher education institution to implement the concept of social responsibility
    • Table 6. Respondents’ answers to the question: Please indicate the most appropriate answer to each statement
    • Table 7. Respondents’ answers to the question: What are the main reasons, in your opinion, encourage HEIs to implement the concept of social responsibility (multi-selection possible)?
    • Table 8. Respondents’ answers to the question: What are the main obstacles to using the concept of corporate responsibility at your HEIs (multi-selection possible)?
    • Table 9. SR examples of Polish HEIs
    • Conceptualization
      Inna Khovrak
    • Data curation
      Inna Khovrak
    • Formal Analysis
      Inna Khovrak
    • Investigation
      Inna Khovrak
    • Methodology
      Inna Khovrak
    • Project administration
      Inna Khovrak
    • Validation
      Inna Khovrak
    • Visualization
      Inna Khovrak
    • Writing – original draft
      Inna Khovrak
    • Writing – review & editing
      Inna Khovrak