Engineering Education for Sustainable Development: A Capabilities Approach, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Engineering Education for Sustainable Development

A Capabilities Approach, 1st Edition

By Mikateko Mathebula


204 pages

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Hardback: 9781138038905
pub: 2017-12-11
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315177045
pub: 2018-01-02
from $24.98

FREE Standard Shipping!


This book demonstrates how the theoretical concepts of the capabilities approach can be applied in the context of engineering education, and how this could be used to add nuance to our understanding of the contribution higher education can make to human flourishing. In demonstrating the usefulness of the capability approach as a lens through which to evaluate the outputs of engineering education, the author also shows how the capability approach can be informed by, and informs, the concept of ‘sustainable development’ and discusses what pedagogical and curricula implications this may have for education for sustainable development (ESD), particularly in engineering. As such, the book builds on the work of scholars of engineering education, and scholars of university education at the nexus of development and sustainability.

Engineering employers, educators and students from diverse contexts discuss both the capabilities and functions that are enlarged by engineering education and the impact these can have on pro-poor engineering or public-good professionalism. The book therefore makes an original conceptual and empirical contribution to our thinking about engineering education research.

The book provides inspiration for both engineering educators and students to orient their technical knowledge and transferable skills towards the public good. It will also be of great interest to students and researchers interested in education for sustainable development more generally and to engineers who are interested in doing work that is aligned with the goals of social justice. The book will also appeal to scholars of the capability approach within higher education.


"Mathebula’s book is extremely timely and important. In the South African context it echoes many of the questions that South African students and proactive educators have been raising in the engineering education space for the past decade. The perspective that this book presents on the pivotal contribution of engineering education for sustainable development is an essential contribution to global discussions about technical autocracy and the need for empathy among engineers. This book is essential for all students and educators engaged in the engineering education system, employers seeking to hire millennial engineers and those looking to use technology for sustainable development." — Wiebke Toussaint, Co-founder Engineers Without Borders (EWB) South Africa, Board member EWB International

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Sustainable human development: the overarching goal

Chapter 2: A capabilities lens on researching engineering education

Chapter 3: Becoming a public-good engineer: students’ perspectives

Chapter 4: Teaching for public-good engineering: lecturers’ perspectives

Chapter 5: Public-good engineering: employers’ perspectives

Chapter 6: Advancing sustainable human development through engineering education

Chapter 7: Being a public-good engineer and doing socially-just engineering

About the Author

Mikateko Mathebula holds a PhD in Development Studies and is a Senior Researcher at the Centre for Research on Higher Education and Development (CRHED) at the University of the Free State, South Africa. Her research focuses on higher education’s contribution in reducing inequalities and advancing social justice.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Sustainable Development

This series uniquely brings together original and cutting-edge research on Sustainable Development. The books in this series tackle difficult and important issues in Sustainable Development including values and ethics; sustainability in higher education; climate compatible development; resilience; capitalism and de-growth; sustainable urban development; gender and participation; and well-being.

Drawing on a wide range of disciplines, the series promotes interdisciplinary research for an international readership. The series was recommended in the Guardian’s suggested reads for Development and Environment.

The series welcomes submissions from established authors in the field as well as from young authors. To submit proposals, please contact the Editor, Rebecca Brennan (

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development / Sustainable Development