Integrating sustainability topics and Education for Sustainable Development into higher education: a global South–North co-production of potential pathways.
The world is changing rapidly, and societies need new knowledge and solutions to address the emerging challenges. The United Nations 2030 Agenda recognizes the crucial role of education in achieving sustainable development. Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) uses various learning methods to raise awareness and empower individuals to take responsibility for shaping the future and making positive contributions to economic, social, environmental, and cultural issues.
Higher education plays a critical role in educating future decision-makers and promoting sustainability. However, despite national and international efforts, the integration of sustainability issues into research and teaching remains limited, particularly in the global South. More action is thus needed to promote sustainability in higher education. Additionally, many lecturers lack the knowledge and skills necessary to integrate sustainability topics into their teaching.
CDE is therefore working to facilitate and promote the transfer of knowledge on sustainability topics from research and implementation projects into education programmes within the University of Bern and other higher education institutions (HEIs) around the world. The initiative is aimed at decision-makers, lecturers, and sustainability officers who want to expand sustainability topics and ESD in their institutions, curricula, and courses in the global South and North.
CDE holds the Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) mandate at the University of Bern. In this capacity, CDE supports teaching staff in integrating sustainability and ESD into their courses, and fosters the competences needed for sustainable development and transformative research. Furthermore, CDE has extensive experience in implementing ESD projects and co-developing and conducting courses in the global South. These include a course on Sustainable Land Management, Royal University of Agriculture, Cambodia and courses on ESD and curriculum support for the Institute for Peace, Development and Security Studies (IPDSS) in South Sudan and the Himalayan University Consortium.
ESD Pathways aims to:
• Promote and integrate sustainability topics and ESD into HEIs in the global North and South
• Expand and consolidate the network of HEIs implementing ESD, through mutual learning and joint efforts
• Foster debate between HEIs in the global South and North
• Support HEIs (lecturers and decision-makers) in the global North and South in integrating SD and ESD into their teaching, taking into account local contexts and conditions
• Raise awareness among lecturers and decision-makers on the relevance of integrating ESD and sustainability topics into HEI teaching, by fostering the development of transformation pathways in HEIs and beyond
• Support lifelong learning, by supporting ESD activities that go beyond HEIs
We offer a wide range of services, each of which is co-defined with the institution we are working with and tailored to their needs. The figure below provides an overview of the various areas.
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Dr. Lilian Trechsel
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