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ESD principles in higher education from a perspective of Central and Eastern European countries

Jana Dlouhá (Environment Centre, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic)
Katja Vintar Mally (Department of Geography, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia)
Jiří Dlouhý (Environment Centre, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Article publication date: 4 September 2017

422

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to reflect education for sustainable development (ESD) principles and their manifestation in higher education (HE) in Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries which share a similar policy situation owing to post-socialist transition processes.

Design/methodology/approach

Observations from comprehensive mapping of ESD in professional development of university educators in CEE within the University Educators for Sustainable Development project provided the initial input for this research. To justify the findings, a questionnaire was distributed among informed respondents and assessed qualitatively. ESD success factors were identified to support the interpretation of the results within the overall HE policy context.

Findings

Opportunities for educators’ competence development are lower and less diverse in the CEE region than in other parts of Europe. Historical reasons and the policy context may contribute to this situation; the most important factor being the underfinanced HE sector which is currently undergoing profound structural transformation.

Research limitations/implications

The sample of respondents is not representative; they are informed experts in ESD. The results are of an illustrative nature; different sources of information are combined to draw a broad picture.

Social implications

University educators in CEE have considerable know-how and experience in ESD and thus represent significant potential for the development of this field under more favourable conditions.

Originality/value

This research is based on more than two years of cooperation within a broad partnership of European universities; it represents a contribution to the debate from a specific regional perspective. It shows opportunities for critical, creative and participatory approaches in HE, analyses current trends in historical and policy contexts and provides impulses for theoretically and practically oriented efforts.

Keywords

Citation

Dlouhá, J., Vintar Mally, K. and Dlouhý, J. (2017), "ESD principles in higher education from a perspective of Central and Eastern European countries", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 18 No. 6, pp. 822-840. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSHE-03-2016-0045

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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