A Network to Share and Support ESD

Like cogs in a system, our ideas keep on moving and progressing forward each time we meet someone new. Thank you to everyone this week for your contributions, whether big or small. It feels like many of the innovations that have developed from this project are coming together bit by bit, as we move in all directions and speak with more lecturers and administrators across Sweden and aboard. This week, we started off in Hamburg and got to know about the work done in a Baltic Science Network at Hamburg University.

We caught up with developments at the administration level at Umeå University and discussed the urgency for lecturers to fully integrate education for sustainability across campus now, not gradually in the next ten years. How to do this practically is our next step in development of the Sustainability Competence Assessment tool. We also need leaders of our universities as well as from projects such our Sustainability Competence Assessment tool and networks where engagement for sustainability is strong to collaborate and implement work to advance education for sustainability.

We were invited to present our project at a network called HU2, which is a group of engaged lectures who work within higher education in Sweden. There were representatives from Karlstad University, Mälardalens University, Södertörns University, Mid Sweden University, Linné University, Linköping University, Malmö University, Dalarna University, University West and Gothenburg University, as well as a representative from the Swedish Council for Higher Education (UHR).  A big group of people with big (and small) ideas about how we can advance our education for sustainability from a teacher’s perspective and from a student’s perspective.

We talked about the need to come from a student-centred perspective to provide relevant education for sustainability. We also considered the different available resources there are for learning more about pedagogical approaches, didactics and pedagogical activities that can help teachers to provide education for sustainability. Many suggestions were shared to learn more about what ways we can measure sustainability in our education and what has worked and what has been tricky to implement.

The HU2 network began in 2006 and has recently had a small hiatus in action, for several reasons. Now the group want to overcome these difficulties to begin a new chapter in the goal to share and support each other in their work for sustainability. Providing continued support via digital tools has had its troubles and a discussion was had about what can be done to create a space for each to share their experiences. We propose our website as a space for such activity. Our website is continuously updated, and we have many ideas about how to develop this platform. We are also completely open to sharing ideas about how to bring this platform forward.

One aspect that we would like to improve is how to help people to feel comfortable to share their experiences, resources and knowledge about education for sustainability. We have a Forum where teacher’s can begin thoughts, share events and activities, discuss sustainability in higher education in Sweden and on an international basis. Also, our questionnaire Sustainability Competence Assessment tool can help teachers to begin planning their lessons and work towards a learning progression of sustainability throughout the curriculum of a program.

There seems to be a need, so let’s support each other to reach these great aspirations. Thank you everyone for sharing your positive vibes and engaging ideas. So far, we have found that there are many of us here in Sweden that want to work with education for sustainability to be able to transform our education and our students’ futures.  We look forward to hearing from you all again soon!

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