2005 – 2014 is the UN Decade for Education for Sustainable development (or ESD) – did you know that? Not many people do, with the possible exception of those who work in education; and even there quite a few are unaware. I went to a job interview in September and mentioned that I was writing and article on ESD. The response from one of my interview panel was: what’s that?
So what are we doing in this country about ESD. Well not an awful lot although there are some isolated beacons of hope. Two English universities were given funds by the Higher Education Funding Council for ESD.. The University of Bradford’s Ecoversity project has integrated ESD into all its procedures for validating and reviewing its programmes of study. Sounds brilliant until a lecturer tells you that, for some staff, it has become a mere tick box exercise.
The University of Plymouth’s sustainability project looks as though it has been adopted by the teaching and learning department – until you click on Education for Sustainable Development – and the web page is not available.
So not an awful lot going on there: and plenty of university leaders who have never heard of Education for Sustainable Development. Where is the next generation of sustainability conscious campaigners going to come from with this lack of engagement? Greens to the forefront. I feel a campaign coming. Ask your local university about their commitment to ESD.