‘Stop the bus, we want to get on!’ Drivers of Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship (ESDGC) in Welsh higher education

Glover, Alison (2010). ‘Stop the bus, we want to get on!’ Drivers of Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship (ESDGC) in Welsh higher education. In: Newport Nexus Conference, 14-15 Jun 2010, University of Wales, Newport.


The Talloires Declaration made by University Administrators in 1990 saw the real emergence of a raised and recognised profile of the importance of sustainability within the higher education arena. Prior to this the first mention of sustainability in higher education, in the international context, was highlighted by the United Nations in 1978, UNESCO – UNEP International Environmental Education Programme. Today documents and declarations continue to emerge in the endeavour to achieve effective sustainable development.

The Welsh Assembly Government published One Wales: One Planet in May 2009, outlining their commitment to embedding sustainable development as an organising principle across Wales within the vision of a ‘transformed Wales’. For Our Future was also published in 2009 and identified aspirations for Welsh higher education. The role of Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship (ESDGC) within higher education is fundamental in realising the visions proposed in these Assembly publications. Welsh higher education has placed increasing importance on ESDGC in recent years. A review of environmental management systems and an audit of ESDGC curriculum content complied with requirements of the Welsh Assembly Government and the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales. However, are there measurable indicators that reflect progress in effective sustainable development and global citizenship within an institution and across the Welsh higher education sector as a whole?

This paper focuses on the findings of recent research reviewing and analysing the relevance and validity of some existing measurable indicators for sustainability. Since 2005 the Green Gown Awards have recognised higher education’s achievements in this area. The People and Planet Green League table was first published in 2007, with higher education institutions submitting information each year to be congratulated on their improvements and exposed for their inactions. Annually higher education institutions participate in environmental management schemes and citizenship awards.

This research endeavours to discover whether measurable progress in the higher education sector corresponds with the drive for a sustainable vision by the Welsh Assembly Government.

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