Academic leads global study into education for sustainability

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Academic leads global study into education for sustainability


31 May 2012

31 May 2012

An examination of sustainability education for teacher education students around the globe will be conducted by an Associate Professor at the University of the Sunshine Coast.

USC’s Head of Discipline for Education Dr Deborah Heck said she and United States academic Victor Noblet would collect data for a final report on the United Nations’ Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005 to 2014).

Dr Heck outlined her plans for the report at a symposium of the International Network for Reorienting Teacher Education toward Sustainability held by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in Canada in mid-May.

Dr Heck was invited to speak at the symposium and to represent teacher education institutions in the Asia Pacific Region. Representatives from Europe, the Middle East, Africa, North America and the Caribbean also attended.

“What we are trying to establish is whether other teaching institutions around the world are implementing education for sustainability,” she said.

“For example, sustainability is part of USC’s mission and a core component of what we do, so it is very easy to demonstrate how we are doing it – not only in teacher education, but in a whole host of other programs.”

“Not every university in every country has those advantages. In the United States, for example, the notion of education for sustainability is not embedded in teacher education programs.”

Dr Heck said the goal of the UN’s Decade of Education for Sustainable Development was to integrate the principles, values and practices of sustainable development into all aspects of education and learning.

“One of the areas of concern indicated by UNESCO member states is that people aren’t being educated on climate change,” she said.

“If we have a better understanding of climate change internationally – at the level of teacher education institutions – that understanding will filter out into the general population and improve people’s awareness and concern for the environment.”

— Michelle Widdicombe

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