Recommendations made in this study build on the recommendations advanced in ‘Education for Sustainability’ The National Strategy on Education for Sustainable Development in Ireland, 2014-2020.
Across the three educational levels opportunities for integrating education for sustainable development have been advanced.
To explore this, a survey was issued to all Scottish College Principals to determine their opinions of ESD at a senior management level.
The survey also asked about the use of the learning and teaching materials within their college.
Education for sustainable development (ESD) has been heralded by the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development as a tool for achieving global sustainability.
The Scottish Government also advocates ESD as the means to providing society with the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes to live more sustainable lives.Moreover, whilst the learning and teaching materials were found to have a modest impact upon the sustainability ethos of those who engaged with them, (particularly upon the students), it was established that effective ESD requires a multi-faceted approach to be successful.Curriculum development on its own will not achieve the step-change that is required for a future thinking society faced with the environmental challenges that are the result of a growing consumerist population, anthropogenic climate change and increasing social injustice.Only then will Scotland’s colleges be effective in producing the sustainability focused society that is required.By the end of the 1960s there was a growing environmental concern all around the globe.At the tertiary education level, sustainability issues should be integrated into teacher training and business and management education.Additionally, interdisciplinary teaching and research need to be prioritised and resourced at the tertiary education level in Ireland.Whilst considerable progress has been made in Scotland’s schools, particularly primary schools, and to a lesser degree in university education, there has been limited evidence of the same success in Scotland’s colleges.There has been limited widespread investigation or published work on the advances of ESD in the Scottish college curriculum.Two research questions were addressed in this study, what are the challenges relevant to achieving sustainability and how can these challenges be more clearly understood?Globally, key challenges include anthropogenic climate change, resource overuse, wealth inequality and water stress.