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Article
Publication date: 5 August 2021

Melissa Franchini Cavalcanti-Bandos, Silvia Quispe-Prieto, Alberto Paucar-Caceres, Toni Burrowes-Cromwel and Héctor Heraldo Rojas-Jiménez

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…

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.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

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Article
Publication date: 11 November 2014

Umesh Sharma and Martin Kelly

The purpose of this paper is to explore students’ perceptions and understandings of, and attitudes towards, education for sustainable development (ESD) at Delta Business…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore students’ perceptions and understandings of, and attitudes towards, education for sustainable development (ESD) at Delta Business School (DBS) in New Zealand[1]. The aim is to extend the limited literature on students’ perceptions of ESD within an accounting and business curriculum.

Design/methodology/approach

To ascertain the students’ evaluations of their ESD, a survey was administered to 60 accounting and business students at DBS. The survey data were supplemented with interview evidence from 20 of the 60 students to obtain a deeper understanding of the students’ evaluations.

Findings

A majority of the students perceive ESD as a “good thing.” Students were supportive of the sustainable business learning experience offered at DBS. The results suggest that students’ knowledge of sustainable business practices improved significantly from their studies.

Practical implications

The paper should assist education providers to assess how students perceive ESD. This may help bring about changes, to improve the teaching of sustainable development. Universities can be the main providers of ESD, but other educational providers such as the professional accounting bodies will also need to manage the development of ongoing education processes. Most students at DBS believe they are obtaining a good understanding of the concept of sustainability.

Originality/value

There is a shortage of research concerning how students perceive sustainable development education. This paper contributes to the discussion of what to incorporate in sustainable education programmes, to help students properly to understand sustainable development. We believe accounting and business education should develop graduates into broad-minded thinkers with a capacity for independent and critical thought. This will prepare them for future leadership roles.

Details

Meditari Accountancy Research, vol. 22 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-372X

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Article
Publication date: 3 July 2017

Jonas Meyer, Marlene Mader, Friedrich Zimmermann and Ketrina Çabiri

The purpose of this paper is to examine sustainability-related challenges in the two Western Balkan countries – Albania and Kosovo. It discusses the opportunities of local…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine sustainability-related challenges in the two Western Balkan countries – Albania and Kosovo. It discusses the opportunities of local higher education institutions (HEIs) taking responsibility to tackle these challenges by providing professional development through science–society collaboration in innovative training sessions for university educators.

Design/methodology/approach

A literature review on actual challenges and transformations of higher education for sustainable development (ESD) in Albania and Kosovo will be the starting point of this paper. Subsequently, experiences from the on-going European Union (EU) project “ConSus” will be used to draw both a competence framework for ESD within science–society collaboration based on the training sessions, as well as possible scaling opportunities.

Findings

The paper draws possible approaches of training sessions for university educators promoting sustainable development and science–society collaboration in higher education. They will be concluded by addressing possible scaling opportunities of the project’s activities.

Practical implications

The experiences of the ConSus training sessions will outline competences of university educators in ESD gained in relation to transdisciplinary collaboration in research and teaching.

Originality/value

The paper will contribute to ESD approaches in higher education in Albania and Kosovo. Furthermore, scaling possibilities will be discussed to systematically implement ESD approaches also in higher hierarchical levels and other HEIs.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 18 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

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Book part
Publication date: 13 July 2020

Loretta Newman-Ford, Sophie Leslie and Sue Tangney

This chapter discusses the pilot study of an Education for Sustainable Development Self-Evaluation Tool (ESD-SET), created by the Quality Enhancement Directorate (formerly…

Abstract

This chapter discusses the pilot study of an Education for Sustainable Development Self-Evaluation Tool (ESD-SET), created by the Quality Enhancement Directorate (formerly the Learning and Teaching Development Unit) at Cardiff Metropolitan University, as both a means of auditing the extent to which academic programs embed ESD and a catalyst for curriculum development.

The chapter evaluates the effectiveness and usefulness of the self-evaluation for both auditing ESD and curriculum development. Responses to the self-evaluation questions by Programme Directors were analyzed and follow-up interviews carried out with the Programme Directors to explore their experiences of the tool.

Results indicate that the self-evaluation tool is fit-for-purpose as a means of auditing the integration of ESD within academic programs. The self-evaluation exercise promoted team discussion around sustainability issues and raised staff awareness and understanding of the concept of ESD and how to effectively embed sustainability-related themes within their discipline. The exercise had a transformative impact on the way some program teams approached curriculum design and delivery. There was evidence that engagement with the tool contributed to further embedding of sustainability within curricula across all disciplines involved in the pilot study.

Details

Introduction to Sustainable Development Leadership and Strategies in Higher Education
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78973-648-9

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2014

Helen Kopnina and Frans Meijers

This article aims to explore the challenges posed by the conceptual framework and diversity of practice of education for sustainable development (ESD). The implications of…

Abstract

Purpose

This article aims to explore the challenges posed by the conceptual framework and diversity of practice of education for sustainable development (ESD). The implications of plurality of ESD perspectives and methodological approaches as well variations in ESD practice will be addressed. Critical framework for conceptualizing of ESD which takes environmental ethics into account will be proposed through the discussion of The Ecocentric and Anthropocentric Attitudes Toward the Sustainable Development (EAATSD) scale.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper opted for a general review approach, covering literature that provides an overview of the concepts and practices of ESD, as well as program evaluation studies. Additionally, qualitative evaluation of EAATSD scale with students of higher professional education was conducted, using in-depth interviews and dialogue with individual students as well as classroom discussions.

Findings

It was found that there are wide and inconclusive debates about the aims of ESD based on the critique of sustainable development discourse in general and instrumentalism embedded in ESD in particular. According to the qualitative evaluation, EAATSD scale can be used for testing anthropocentric and Ecocentric Attitudes Towards Sustainable Development in students of higher education. Based on these results, this scale was found to be revealing of the critical view of paradoxes and challenges inherent in multiple goals of sustainable development as well as useful for testing anthropocentric and ecocentric attitudes in students of higher education.

Research limitations/implications

Reliability of the scale needs further statistical testing, and as is the case in conventional EE/ESD evaluations, and consequent research is necessary to improve institutional, national, and international applicability to particular cases. Future research should draw from this critical review in order to devise alternative evaluation tools.

Practical implications

In practice, this implies that currently administered evaluations of generic ESD, while useful in concrete cultural or institutional settings, might be premature. The article concludes with the reflection upon which conceptual, methodological, cultural, and ethical challenges of ESD which should be useful for ESD researchers and practitioners in different national settings.

Originality/value

This article fulfills an identified need to address the paradoxes of sustainable development and to study how ESD can be more effective.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 15 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

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Article
Publication date: 6 May 2014

Ana Capelo, Conceição Santos and Maria Arminda Pedrosa

The purpose of this paper is to explore the relevance of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in East Timor and proposes a set of ESD indicators to be implemented…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the relevance of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in East Timor and proposes a set of ESD indicators to be implemented in the formal education sector.

Design/methodology/approach

A detailed analysis of relevant literature concerning national development plans (Republica Democrática de Timor-Leste, 2011), literature centred in East Timor and international perspectives about ESD principles, policies and values (UN reports) was carried, in order to examine the relevance of ESD in East Timor and to assist the selection of a set of ESD indicators. These indicators are proposed in order to assess and monitor if the current national policies, educational programmes, secondary school content, learning goals and activities in formal education express concerns related with ESD promotion in terms of specific curricular themes, learning characteristics, learning resources, skills, values and attitudes.

Findings

This paper argues that the East Timor government has intentions in ESD promotion and implementation. Thus, ESD indicators could be helpful in assessment of new curricular practices. However, even though ESDI may indicate that secondary school programmes, content, learning goals or activities are aligned with ESD principles, it is also important to assess if they then contribute effectively to sustainable development.

Originality/value

The case study of East Timor adds to the literature about the current interests of young countries such as this in progressing towards a sustainable future, starting from the selection and implementation of ESD indicators in the current curriculum reform. If it is successful, ESD will contribute to transforming not only education but also the quality of life of the East Timorese.

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Article
Publication date: 3 July 2017

Ingrid Mulà, Daniella Tilbury, Alexandra Ryan, Marlene Mader, Jana Dlouhá, Clemens Mader, Javier Benayas, Jirí Dlouhý and David Alba

The world is shaped by an education system that reinforces unsustainable thinking and practice. Efforts to transform our societies must thus prioritise the education of…

Abstract

Purpose

The world is shaped by an education system that reinforces unsustainable thinking and practice. Efforts to transform our societies must thus prioritise the education of educators – building their understanding of sustainability and their ability to transform curriculum and wider learning opportunities. The purpose of this paper is to focus on university educators and critically review the professional development and policy landscape challenges that influence their effective engagement with Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). The paper is informed by a pan-European collaboration involving 33 countries that identified emerging scholarship and practice in this area and assessed the lessons learned from ESD professional development initiatives. It sets the context for a special issue titled “Professional Development in Higher Education for Sustainable Development” that draws together a collection of articles focusing on professional development of university educators across the world.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper provides a critical review of existing practice, international policy frameworks and literature relating to ESD, professional development and higher education. It examines innovative initiatives worldwide that seek to improve the capability of educators in higher education to integrate ESD into academic practice at individual, disciplinary and institutional levels. A rigorous process of selection was applied and overseen by an international expert group. This ensured that the initiatives sought educational change in ESD, and not simply the embedding of content about sustainability into learning opportunities. It also assured that the initiatives had a clear and intentional professional learning process to underpin the engagement of participants with ESD.

Findings

ESD has grown in visibility and status worldwide, with a clear increase in activity in higher education. The sector is viewed as a significant force for change in societies, through the education provision it offers to future professionals and leaders in all sectors. However, universities currently lack capacity to integrate ESD effectively into mainstream teaching practices and the training they provide for academic staff or to integrate ESD into their institutional teaching and learning priorities. Many ESD activities remain focused on teaching issues arising in sustainable development research and delivering specialist modules or courses in sustainability. Very few countries and institutions have significant staff development programmes to enhance the ESD competences of university educators and build their academic leadership capabilities for ESD. The contributions to this special issue show the need for greater understanding of the multi-level task of integrating ESD into professional development activities, not just for individual impact in the classroom but to advance institutional change and decisively influence the teaching and learning discourse of higher education.

Originality/value

There are few research studies and documented activities on ESD professional development in higher education available in the literature. This paper attempts to explore what ESD professional development involves and describes its complexity within the higher education sector. The special issue provides a collection of innovative research and practical initiatives that can help those involved in education and learning to develop ESD as a priority for future university innovative pathways.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 18 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

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Book part
Publication date: 13 July 2020

Glenda Crosling, Graeme Atherton, Munir Shuib, Asyirah Abdul Rahim, Siti Norbaya Azizan and Mohammad Izzamil Mohd Nasir

This chapter discusses the findings of a study at a public university in Malaysia, which reflect the country’s evolving situation regarding sustainability education. The…

Abstract

This chapter discusses the findings of a study at a public university in Malaysia, which reflect the country’s evolving situation regarding sustainability education. The study aimed to explore the knowledge of and attitudes to sustainability of the academic staff at the university, and the pedagogical approaches they used in curricula. Through a mixed method approach, primary data were collected through an online quantitative survey containing 90 statements related to Education for Sustainable Development Goals, knowledge, attitudes, pedagogical techniques, and learning objectives. Following the survey, a focus group discussion was conducted involving several academic staff from the university to explore their perspectives on current sustainability teaching practices and to identify emerging issues. Findings revealed that there were generally positive levels of understandings and attitudes among the academic staff toward education on sustainability development (ESD). Furthermore, the staff agreed highly with ESD learning objectives, and various pedagogical approaches were in use. These are important findings as the levels of awareness and attitudes among academics play a key role in shaping successful implementation of a range of pedagogical techniques for ESD goals. As well as the challenges identified in the study, the chapter puts forward useful insights and key aspects to enhance ESD practices at all levels in the country. Options for policy and practice to move beyond sustainable development as a goal or aspiration for teaching and learning to a practical and pedagogical reality of ESD practices in Malaysian higher education institutions are also discussed.

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Article
Publication date: 7 January 2021

Leyla Yılmaz Fındık, İlknur Bayram and Özlem Canaran

The purpose of this paper is to explore how sustainable development (SD) is conceptualized by pre-service English language teachers in Turkey and design a specialized…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore how sustainable development (SD) is conceptualized by pre-service English language teachers in Turkey and design a specialized course syllabus on SD in English language teaching (ELT) in the light of the research findings.

Design/methodology/approach

The study used a mixed-methods sequential explanatory study design and investigated the case of a state university in Turkey with the involvement of 133 pre-service English language teachers.

Findings

The findings indicated that most pre-service English language teachers received no training or a course on SD in their whole education life and tended to associate SD mostly with the economic growth of a country, followed by education, social and ecological concepts. It was also found that the majority of the participants had a unidimensional view of SD. No direct links with ELT have been detected from participants’ responses. The findings also pointed to the eagerness of the participants to receive an ELT-specific course on SD providing that the course involves interactive teaching and learning activities with reference to contemporary sources focusing on global and local issues, as well as studying the methods facilitating the incorporation of such issues into teaching practice.

Research limitations/implications

This research is based on the experience of one Turkish university with limited quantitative and qualitative data.

Practical implications

Based on the participants’ knowledge, views and suggestions, this paper contributes to the existing literature by providing empirical evidence obtained from a local context and suggests a practical framework for a field-specific course syllabus aiming to enhance teacher candidates’ knowledge, skills and values related to SD and its incorporation into ELT.

Originality/value

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study seeking to explore pre-service ELT teachers’ conceptualization of SD in Turkish higher education, and drawing on the research findings, the authors attempted to design a course syllabus targeted at pre-service teachers in ELT departments.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 22 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

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Article
Publication date: 2 January 2018

Michele Biasutti, Vassilios Makrakis, Eleonora Concina and Sara Frate

The purpose of this paper is to present a professional development experience for higher education academic staff within the framework of an international Tempus project…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present a professional development experience for higher education academic staff within the framework of an international Tempus project focused on reorienting university curricula to address sustainability. The project included revising curricula to phase sustainable development principles into university courses.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative approach was used to examine perceived professional development. Focus groups have been conducted with the academic staff who participated in the project.

Findings

The results provided evidence that revising their curricula offered the participants an opportunity to discuss different principles, teaching methods, didactic processes and practices in Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). Several strategies emerged during curricula revision such as a positive attitude towards meta-cognitive strategies and a goal-oriented approach to curriculum planning. Moreover, the project induced the academic staff to reconsider their teaching methods.

Research limitations/implications

The main limitation is the restricted generalisability of the findings, because of the small number of participants. Further research is needed to confirm the theoretical model that emerged. Implications of the results for professional development and the induction of change in academic staff are also discussed.

Originality/value

There is little information about training experiences for enhancing professional development in academic staff using ESD principles, and this study provides a starting point. According to the results, the project had an impact on the participants’ attitudes, teaching principles and methods, course design skills and assessment approaches.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 19 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

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