Education for Sustainability is a learning and change process which is relevant to people, communities and organisations. Its ambition is to engage learners in thinking critically and creatively about the future as well as in considering the systemic changes that are needed to improve quality of life across the globe. The terms Education for Sustainability and Education for Sustainable Development are often used interchangeably. 'ESD' covers a range of international initiatives across formal and informal learning contexts and at all educational levels. The concept of sustainability focuses on achieving human wellbeing and quality of life, pursued through the maintenance, care and equitable use of natural and cultural resources. Terminology around sustainability is by necessity extremely complex and highly contested, with definitions varying according to context and perspective. (Ryan, 2011: HE Academy UK).
Rationale for Stream 2: Education for Sustainability
In 2012 the university signed the Rio +21 commitment to sustainability that includes 'Teach sustainable development concepts, ensuring that they form a part of the core curriculum across all disciplines [and] have an explicit understanding of how to achieve a society that values people, the planet and profits'.
Sustainability needs to be embedded in learning programs – the core business of higher education. Stream 2 will enable academic staff to implement Education for Sustainability (EfS) initiatives including projects and practices that are relevant within their curriculum. The funds can be used to support projects from a diverse range of knowledge backgrounds and study areas. Eligible examples could include professional development for groups of EfS practitioners, new blending learning techniques that promote EfS, student access to on-campus and community sites for learning, material and resource development for units, mapping sustainability in the curriculum exercises and students creating project and tools to engage campus/community on sustainability issues (i.e expos, interpretive signage etc). Research outcomes are an acceptable outcome of the funding however proposals must clearly outline EfS impacts. Individual conferences and travel expenses are not eligible under this initiative.
The maximum funds available will be $15,000 for each application and each stream.
Education for Sustainability Principles
Transformation and change
Education for sustainability is not simply about providing information but involves equipping people with the skills, capacity and motivation to plan and manage change towards sustainability within an organisation, industry or community.
Education for all and lifelong learning
Education for sustainability is driven by a broad understanding of education and learning that includes people of all ages and backgrounds and at all stages of life and takes place within all possible learning spaces, formal and informal, in schools, workplaces, homes and communities.
Education for sustainability aims to equip people to understand connections between environmental, economic, social and political systems.
Envisioning a better future
Education for sustainability engages people in developing a shared vision for a sustainable future.
Critical thinking and reflection
Education for sustainability values the capacity of individuals and groups to reflect on personal experiences and world views and to challenge accepted ways of interpreting and engaging with the world.
Education for sustainability recognises participation as critical for engaging groups and individuals in sustainability.
Partnerships for change
Education for sustainability focuses on the use of genuine partnerships to build networks and relationships, and improve communication between different sectors of society.