Education for Sustainable Development

This is one for all colleagues working wth our Staffordshire Graduate attributes. We’ve recently added the cncept of sustainability into the attribute of Global Citizenship, and at a ecent workshp I heard of some of the great work being done in this area – an not in teh usual subjects of engieering or geograpy, but in Law!.

A new publication from HEA/QAA on Education for Sustainable Development has been produced, to provide guidance to UK HE providers.

QAA are at pains to explain that this document is not part of the quality code, but is to complement it.

In terms of defining education for sustainable development, the report refers to the definition used in the United Nations Brundtland Report:

“Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”


“Education for sustainable development is the process of equipping students with knowledge and understanding, skills and attributes needed to work and live in a way that safeguards environmental, social and economic wellbeing, both in the present and for future generations.”


The paper proposes a range of graduate outcomes, under the headings of Knowledge and Understanding, Skills and Attributes. Of particular interest for us might be the section on attributes, which are described as follows:


The report concludes with a series of questions for academics to ask under the following headings:

  • Debating sustainability/sustainable development
  • engaging students
  • engaging colleagues
  • the learning environment

In conclusion, a worthwhile read for anyone considering how to incorporate aspects of sustainability into their Staffordshire Gradate attributes