Journal of Social Sciences

Who Really Cares About Higher Education For Sustainable Development?

Torsten Richter and Kim Philip Schumacher

DOI : 10.3844/jssp.2011.24.32

Journal of Social Sciences

Volume 7, Issue 1

Pages 24-32


Problem statement: It is agreed that integrating Higher Education for Sustainable Development (HESD) into the curricula of universities is of key importance to disseminate the idea of sustainability. Especially the curricula of teacher-training should contain elements of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) due to the crucial role of future teachers in information propagation. Approach: In order to find out about the spreading of ESD into the curricula and whether or not it is of interest to university staff and students two interlinked studies were carried out in northern Germany during the summer term 2009 using standardized questionnaires. Results: A large gap between pilot projects and the statements of politicians on the one hand and the interest of academic staff and students in sustainability issues and the dissemination of HESD and ESD into the standard curricula of universities on the other was observed. Only 20% of respondents stated to have either given or attended courses relating to sustainability. Conclusion/Recommendations: Nevertheless there is a strong approval of the necessity for more courses related to sustainability which offers potential for improvements within the rest of the UN-Decade on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).


© 2011 Torsten Richter and Kim Philip Schumacher. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.