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QAA and Advance HE launch landmark new guidance on Education for Sustainable Development

Date: March 29 - 2021

Today sees the launch of new guidance on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in higher education, jointly published by QAA and Advance HE. The revised guidance is intended to help UK higher education institutions incorporate ESD within their curricula.

The guidance comes at a time of increased urgency to tackle the climate crisis and its interconnected development needs. As the UK prepares to host the COP26 UN Climate Conference later this year in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the higher education sector has a key role in helping address sustainable development issues.

QAA and Advance HE brought together a group of experts representing academic, business and student communities, with the aim of supporting all students to acquire the skills necessary to develop values and take actions to transition society towards a sustainable future. The guidance gives advice and support on curriculum design, as well as teaching, learning and assessment approaches.

The full guidance is available to any staff member or student at a QAA Member or Advance HE Member institution. QAA Members can access the guidance on our Membership Resources Site. An Executive Summary, providing an overview of the guidance, is publicly available.

An online launch event for the guidance is being held today, with 650 delegates attending from over 200 institutions, across 14 countries. Following this, there will be a programme of associated workshops, training, webinars and targeted support from both QAA and Advance HE.

QAA's Chief Executive, Douglas Blackstock, said: ‘The last year has tested our ability to respond to global crises - the higher education sector has led the way in adapting rapidly, following the science, and working collaboratively with partners across the world. This major revamp of our Education for Sustainable Development guidance will help apply those skills to meeting the sustainable development goals. Thank you to everyone who helped work on it.’

Advance HE’s Chief Executive, Alison Johns, said: ‘I believe this guidance offers really robust support for the sector as it continues to incorporate Education for Sustainable Development within the curricula. As students transition through higher education and take their place as global citizens, it’s vital, whatever their academic discipline or onward route in life, that they have the opportunity to acquire the knowledge, understanding and skills to play their part in ensuring a sustainable world.’