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The work of higher education institutions to promote sustainable development
Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013), Department of Environmental and Life Sciences (from 2013). (SMEER)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2726-8253
Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013), Department of Environmental and Life Sciences (from 2013). Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013), Department of Engineering and Physics (from 2013), Science, Mathematics and Engineering Education Research.
2018 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In March 2016, the Swedish Higher Education Authority (UKÄ) was tasked by the Swedish government to conduct an evaluation of how universities and university colleges promote sustainable development, pursuant to the provisions of the Higher Education Act (1992:1434) introduced ten years earlier, 2006. The evaluation has resulted in a unique collection of empirical material that would have been difficult for an individual researcher to collect independently. The evaluation includes an analysis, but is related to background theory not a strict scientific study.  The empirical material could, however, form a basis for numerous interesting studies on, for example, the important factors for successfully working to integrate sustainable development into higher education. A comparison between nations is also possible to conduct based on the methodology of self-reporting by Higher Education institutions, HEI:s. 

 

The evaluation defined sustainable development by the Bruntland detention, that the present and future generations are ensured a healthy and good environment, financial and social welfare, and justice. The evaluation was limited to the educational area of sustainable development, education for sustainable development ESD. 

 

The purpose of the evaluation was to contribute with knowledge and a national comparison of HEIs, work with ESD,  and also to present the results that have been achieved so far. The evaluation was further conducted to give support to the HEIs development work on ESD.

 

Success factors of a positive ESD implementation due to pre-defined criteria were identified in the  evaluation; the significance of management and control, building institutional support and providing support in implementation.  Apart from investigated criteria, factors that showed effects on a positive ESD implementation was also identified in the evaluation. An example is that several of the large and medium-sized HEIs referred their ESD work from teaching- and engineering programmes, which is the only two programmes where sustainable development is included in the national qualitative programme targets. Central bodies with specific responsibilities for sustainable development was also appointed an important structure in translating ESD policy document to the local context and practice. An interesting finding  was the link between HEIs rated high in this evaluation, to institutions with an environmental management system intended to improve the organisation’s environmental performance and contribute to national environmental goals and to the achievement of UN global goals for sustainable development. Such system takes a wider responsibility of sustainable development than education but seems influential and important in HEIs ESD work. A remaining challenge for a majority of HEIs in Sweden is the process of sustainable development in education where the ESD perspective is not only accounted for as a specific content in education but also a driving force to reach high quality education and society transformation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
Keywords [en]
Higher education, ESD implementation, ESD self-evaluation
National Category
Biological Sciences
Research subject
Biology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-74933OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-74933DiVA, id: diva2:1355859
Conference
ECER 2018 Bolzano
Available from: 2019-09-30 Created: 2019-09-30 Last updated: 2019-10-14Bibliographically approved

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Mogren, Anna

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