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Advance HE and QAA launch landmark new guidance on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)

29 Mar 2021 | Advance HE An online launch event for the guidance is being held today, 29 March

Today sees the launch of new guidance on Education for Sustainable Development in higher education, jointly published by QAA and Advance HE. The revised Education for Sustainable Development guidance (ESDG) is intended to help UK higher education institutions incorporate Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) within their curricula.

The guidance comes at a time of increased urgency to tackle the climate crisis and its interconnected development needs. As the UK prepares to host the COP26 UN Climate Conference later this year in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the higher education sector has a key role in helping address sustainable development issues.

QAA and Advance HE brought together a group of experts representing academic, business and student communities, with the aim of supporting all students to acquire the skills necessary to develop values and take actions to transition society towards a sustainable future. The guidance gives advice and support on curriculum design, as well as teaching, learning and assessment approaches.

The full guidance is available for any staff member or student at a QAA or Advance HE Member institution, with an executive summary publicly available. 

An online launch event for the guidance is being held today, with more than 650 delegates attending from 14 institutions. Following this, there will be a programme of associated workshops, training, webinars, and targeted support from both QAA and Advance HE.

QAA's Chief Executive, Douglas Blackstock, said: ‘The last year has tested our ability to respond to global crises - the higher education sector has led the way in adapting rapidly, following the science, and working collaboratively with partners across the world. This major revamp of our Education for Sustainable Development guidance will help apply those skills to meeting the sustainable development goals. Thank you to everyone who helped work on it.’

Advance HE’s Chief Executive, Alison Johns, said: ‘I believe this guidance offers really robust support for the sector as it continues to incorporate Education for Sustainable Development within the curricula. As students transition through higher education and take their place as global citizens, it’s vital, whatever their academic discipline or onward route in life, that they have the opportunity to acquire the knowledge, understanding and skills to play their part in ensuring a sustainable world.’

A recording of the launch webinar, featuring a panel discussion with the editing team will shortly be available. The panel included:

  • Professor Jim Longhurst, University of the West of England, Bristol Chair of the Advisory Group
  • Professor Simon Kemp, University of Southampton, Chair of the Advisory Group
  • Dr Kate Mori, Quality and Standards Specialist, QAA
  • Dr Catherine Hack, Principal Adviser (Learning and Teaching), Advance HE
  • Dr Patrick Baughan, Senior Adviser (Learning and Teaching), Advance HE

During March, our Connect Benefit Series theme “Sustainability for Everyone: Here and Now” is based on the premise (and need) that sustainability is for everyone, both in higher education and beyond. We will address key challenges including Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and climate change, and consider how sustainability can be prioritised. Click below to find out more.

Sustainability for Everyone: Here and Now

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