Education for Sustainable Development: A Review of Characteristics of Sustainability Curriculum
12 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2012
Date Written: March 29, 2012
Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is recognized internationally as an essential tool to achieve sustainable development. Its importance is seen in the establishment of United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (UNDESD) from year 2005 to 2014. It has been stressed by many scholars that integrating sustainable development concepts into curriculum being the most effective ways of increasing effectiveness of ESD. Despite the vision of UNDESD is to integrate ESD in all levels and all sectors of education in all countries, the impact of ESD in higher education can be seen significantly. It is because the graduates are not only to acquire knowledge and skills in the higher education for the needs of employment, however, they will bring further effect to the future on their decision making and global responsibility. Therefore, it is important to determine the characteristic of sustainability curriculum in higher education, so that it can be a guidance to aid the process of sustainability orientation curriculum design. Thus, this paper attempts to provide an overview of characteristics of sustainability curriculum. Five selected frameworks and models have been reviewed in order to identify the key characteristics that might contribute to the integration of sustainable development concepts into curriculum. The findings are focus on the characteristics of curriculum structure and teaching strategies. The major characteristics of curriculum structure are; emphasized on the complexity of sustainability issues, promote the flexible curriculum structure, enable the interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary learning of sustainability, contextualizing, balance-up the theory and practice portion as well as provide space for reflection. While, the teaching strategies are more emphasized on active learning. These key characteristics is vital to be used to propose a model for integration of sustainable development concepts into curriculum in order to achieve ESD.
Keywords: Education for Sustainable Development, curriculum characteristics, higher education, sustainability curriculum
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