The Centre for Educational Development (CED) were delighted to present our Annual Learning and Teaching Conference 2022, entitled: Sustainable Development Goals: Taking action or ticking boxes?
The conference was set against the backdrop of the adoption of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015, where Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) promote and encourage educators, learners and communities to engage in the social, economic, and environmental responsibilities both locally and globally. Well before the introduction of the SDGs in 2015, Education Sustainable Development (ESD) was a key part of HEIs for a sustainable future to the development of relevant learner skills, knowledge and competencies but did not always take an institutional commitment or strategic approach. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO in 2019) defines Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) as:
ESD empowers learners to take informed decisions and responsible actions for environmental integrity, economic viability and a just society, for present and future generations, while respecting cultural diversity. It is about lifelong learning and is an integral part of quality education. ESD is holistic and transformational education which addresses learning content and outcomes, pedagogy, and the learning environment. It achieves its purpose by transforming society.
There is also considerable evidence that learners expect sustainable development to be embedded into institutional practices, as well as the curricula, as outlined by the National Union of Students (NUS) Skills Survey (2020-2021). The conference is drawn from the QAA and Advanced HE publication on the guidance of Education for Sustainable Development published in 2021, which is the focus of the conference themes.
The four Keynote Speakers align with the conference themes, that took place over four weeks.