Competences for sustainable development in higher education - analysis of the Central and Eastern European Region
Keywords:Higher education, competences, sustainable development, Eastern Europe, educational transition
Debates relevant to sustainability oriented teaching at higher education level anticipate the necessary transitions in curricula. In order to depict the overall ESD related transformation of university teaching, the authors examined (pre–requisites for the development of) university educators’ competences in 13 countries of the Central and Eastern Europe, and compared these findings with those from other European countries (similar in some aspects). The situation was analysed in a survey where national policy conditions for ESD at HE level were examined, and competences were outlined within good practice case studies according to the UNECE framework. The results show some deficits in professional development of university educators, where attention to competences is missing in general, and in the field of ESD in particular. In consequence, ESD approaches and principles are applied less frequently in this part of Europe.
From a broader point of view it was observed that opportunities for competence development at HE level exist but are unevenly distributed across countries. For support of professional development of university educators in the field of ESD competences, understanding of environmental education versus ESD is an important factor, and also acceptance of an inter– or transdisciplinary perspective. The authors argue that disciplinarianism is a deeply rooted part of academic culture in all post–socialist CEE countries, while for sustainability a transdisciplinary approach and the wider involvement of stakeholders is crucially needed. The context of the presented research is the University Educators for Sustainable Development (UE4SD) project where 53 partners from 33 European countries collaborate to identify the best ways to develop university educators’ competences in sustainability teaching. The outcomes of this project are briefly introduced in the article.
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