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Framework for Education for Sustainable Development

Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in higher education equips learners with the knowledge, competencies and values to tackle interconnected global challenges, encompassing economic, social and environmental sustainability.  

It enables learners to make informed decisions and take both individual and collective actions to transform society and protect the planet. It enriches the cognitive, socio-emotional and behavioural aspects of learning, covering not only the learning content and outcomes but also the teaching methods and the learning environment itself. 

The framework is designed to be of value to a broad audience and can be particularly beneficial in: 

  • supporting course teams to understand ESD and adopt a consistent approach to integrating it across programmes, including supporting co-curricular and interdisciplinary opportunities 
  • helping students identify the necessary competencies for sustainable citizenship and fostering agency for a sustainable future 
  • supporting institutions to develop comprehensive approaches that encompass policy frameworks, interdisciplinary learning, engagement with community groups and stakeholders 
  • aligning strategy to create a sustainable learning environment. 

The framework is part of the Essential Frameworks for Enhancing Student Success series.

Request the framework
Essentials Frameworks For Enhancing Student Success
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Has your institution identified education for sustainable development as a priority? 

Our expertise and globally recognised standards and frameworks help higher education organisations transform teaching by developing and recognising teaching excellence. We work with you – understanding your context – to enhance education for sustainable development by sharing insight and evidenced-based practice to deliver student success. 

Find out more
Advance HE approach to enhancing student success
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Upcoming events 

Sustainability Conference 2024

11 June 2024, virtual

Aimed at senior and strategic leaders within HE, this conference will focus on the sector's responsibilities in relation to the UN SDGs, civic responsibility, new sustainability initiatives and research.
Book now

Teaching and Learning Conference 2024

2 – 4 July 2024, Nottingham, UK

Our flagship conference attracting HE practitioners involved in all aspects of HE teaching and learning from the UK and overseas.
Book now

Artificial Intelligence Symposium 2024: AI Journeys - Being Human

10 July 2024, Manchester

AI Symposium 2024 will focus on building ethical and sustainable student learning journeys.
Book now

Research Symposium 2024: Innovate, Inspire, Lead: Transforming research culture

16 July 2024, virtual

This one-day research symposium focuses on engaging discussions, insightful presentations and networking opportunities to shape the future of higher education.
Book now
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Related resources

Education for Sustainable Development Guidance

Jointly published by QAA and Advance HE, this guidance provides a framework and guidance to help staff in UK higher education institutions incorporate Education for Sustainable Development within their curricula. 

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ESD practice guides
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Practice Guides to support Education for Sustainable Development 

This set of ESD practice guides is part of a Collaborative Development Fund project and are intended to offer examples of activity already being undertaken in the UK higher and further education sectors to embed Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) into teaching, learning and assessment. The guides complement guides published in 2021 by Advance HE and QAA, which can be found here.

The guides are focused on enabling student achievement/student engagement and on learning and teaching delivery. They will be published in three sets of five, leading up to Advance HE's Sustainability Symposium on 21 March 2024.

Read more
Essentials Frameworks - Guide to ESD in Practice
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Meet the project leads

Dr Kay Hack (PFHEA)

Lead Consultant (Education)
Advance HE
Dr Kay Hack
Kay's role includes developing, managing and promoting excellence in teaching and learning, both generally and within STEM disciplines.
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