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Provision of education for sustainability development and sustainability literacy in business programs in three higher education institutions in Brazil, Colombia and Peru

Melissa Franchini Cavalcanti-Bandos (Centro Universitario Municipal de Franca, Sao Paulo, Brazil)
Silvia Quispe-Prieto (Escuela Profesional de Enfermeria, Facultad de Ciencias de la Salud, Universidad Nacional Jorge Basadre Grohmann, Tacna, Peru)
Alberto Paucar-Caceres (Manchester Metropolitan University – All Saints Campus, Manchester, UK)
Toni Burrowes-Cromwel (Manchester Metropolitan University – All Saints Campus, Manchester, UK)
Héctor Heraldo Rojas-Jiménez (Universidad Externado de Colombia, Bogotá, DC, Colombia)

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Article publication date: 5 August 2021

Issue publication date: 16 August 2021

486

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to report on the status and the development of education for sustainable development (ESD) and sustainability literacy (SL) in three Latin American (LA) higher education institutions (HEIs) business programs in Peru, Brazil and Colombia. The paper examines institutional efforts to both introduce and implement ESD curricula and provide SL.

Design/methodology/approach

The methods used in this paper included reviews of university Web pages and course materials. Structured interviews were also conducted with program leaders, to examine the level of ESD, as input affecting the business programs curricula of the universities concerned.

Findings

Initial findings suggest that, in the three HEIs surveyed, there is still a tendency to talk about issues related to ESD but actions that confirm this interest are not sufficiently advanced. The authors surveys a sample of business programs curricula and interviewed its leaders and a mixed and dated picture emerged. When compared to other regions particularly the USA and Europe, the findings show that the HEIs surveyed still have not developed enough work to distinguish conceptually between sustainable development, ESD and SL making the embedment of these concepts in the curriculum not fully developed.

Originality/value

In LA HEIs, the ESD message seems to be slowly taking ground, equipping HEIs to respond to SL concerns. Implementation and practice in some HEIs are still at an embryonic and conceptually confused stage with regard to LA HEIs SL. This paper sheds light to help ESD delivery. It offers some strategies for moving on from this inception phase to a more structured SL provision and ESD outlook.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This paper forms part of a special section “Sustainability Literacy: Faculty, Staff, and Students as Agents of Change”, guest edited by Ira Feldman and Todd LeVasseur.

This research was carried out as part of the Manchester Metropolitan University Grant: QR Global Challenges Research Fund 2018: Project: Enhancing Research on Sustainability and Resilience in marginalized communities in Latin America. The authors are grateful to the valuable comments of the three reviewers of the initial manuscript; their comments have allowed us to greatly improve this article. We are also grateful to the business program leaders of the three universities who kindly accepted to be interviewed- many thanks for your time and patience.

Citation

Cavalcanti-Bandos, M.F., Quispe-Prieto, S., Paucar-Caceres, A., Burrowes-Cromwel, T. and Rojas-Jiménez, H.H. (2021), "Provision of education for sustainability development and sustainability literacy in business programs in three higher education institutions in Brazil, Colombia and Peru", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 22 No. 5, pp. 1055-1086. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSHE-07-2020-0247

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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