The purpose of this paper is to explore how competences for sustainable development and research interrelate within a context of competence-based higher education. Specific focus is oriented towards strengthening research competences for sustainability.
Following a hermeneutic–interpretive methodology, this paper builds upon a critical literature review to demarcate the theoretical framework and an in-depth analysis of a case study exploring the interrelations between both types of competences.
The paper discusses current issues in the integration of competences and explores the contribution of research-based methods to acquire competences for sustainable development. The analysis shows that research skills are often mentioned to contribute to this acquisition, though from a general perspective, or from the sidelines of the learning process. A holistic view on how both concepts are linked is missing.
First, the complex nature of competences and their integration in higher education could lead to difficulties in interpreting and analysing them. Second, the analysis is based on a single-case study, limiting possibilities to generalise the results. Third, this study is not looking at curriculum practices in these fields.
There is a need to holistically (re-)frame research competences within the concepts of education for sustainable development and, to a wider extent, sustainable development.
Framing research competences within the concept of sustainable development enables a thorough and “conscious”, rather than coincidental, acquisition of competences for sustainable development.
The originality of this paper lies in the fact that there is little literature about the interrelations between competences for sustainable development and research competences.
Lambrechts, W. and Van Petegem, P. (2016), "The interrelations between competences for sustainable development and research competences", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 17 No. 6, pp. 776-795. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSHE-03-2015-0060Download as .RIS
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