Whilst Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Four focuses on quality education, it is clear that education underpins all of the SDGs as education is needed at all levels, in both formal and non-formal realms, to enable individuals to contribute meaningfully to peaceful, just, inclusive, equitable and sustainable societies. With this realisation in mind, the School of Education (SOE) at The University of the West Indies (Mona Campus, Jamaica) has intensified efforts since 2000 onwards to institutionalise sustainability, inclusive of efforts to infuse Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) into curricula at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Through these efforts, pre-service and in-service teachers are exposed to ESD knowledge, skills, values, attitudes and action oriented activities.
A focus on ESD and the SDGs is based on the realisation that sustainable development is being threatened by unsustainable relationships with self, others, and the environment. Education, therefore, with its holistic focus on knowledge, skills, values, attitudes and action, is seen as the long-term, sustainable solution in order to bring about the changed relationships that are needed to truly benefit society and planet.
Infusion took place through the following processes:
• Infusion of ESD, the SDGs, and related themes such as climate change and peace in undergraduate and postgraduate courses such as (i) Changing Cultures, Changing Schools, (ii) Education and Citizenship, (iii) Environmental Education, and (iv) Literature and Education for Sustainable Development, through case studies, analysis of literary texts, videos, songs, readings, and guest lectures. A number of these courses have community and/or school action components that involve Project-Based Learning, encouraging action competencies and community connections to address real-world issues.
• Development of a Master’s of Education Degree programme in Education for Sustainable Development, Global Citizenship, and Peace, with climate change education, conflict resolution education, and education for sustainable development among its core courses. This programme, with tracks for both formal and non-formal education, accepted its first cohort in the 2019/2020 academic year.
• Collaborative action research involving members who are part of the SOE ESD Working Group infusing ESD in their undergraduate or postgraduate course delivery during the 2018/19 academic year. Courses include Changing Cultures, Changing Schools; Environmental Education; Fundamentals of Data Analysis; History of Science and Science Teaching; Principles of Curriculum Development and Implementation; and Teacher Leadership.