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Jonas Andreasen Lysgaard

Education for Sustainable Development in the Nordic Countries: A Comparative Examination

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  • Jonas Andreasen Lysgaard
  • Ólafur Jónsson, Univ Iceland, University of Iceland, South Iceland Res Ctr
  • ,
  • Bragi Guðmundsson, Univ Akureyri
  • ,
  • Anne Øyehaug, Inland University College
  • ,
  • Robert Didham, Inland University College
  • ,
  • Lili-Ann Wolff, University of Helsinki
  • ,
  • Stefan Bengtsson, Uppsala University, Uppsala, 75185, Sweden., Uppsala University, Sweden
  • Bryndis Gunnarsdóttir, Univ Akureyri
  • ,
  • Paul Plummer, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden, Uppsala, Sweden
  • ,
  • Mathilda Brückner, Denmark
The paper presents part of the MESIN research project on education for sustainable development (ESD) in the Nordic countries, focusing on the UN Sustainable Development Goal 4.7 which states that: “By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development.” The project is funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers. Approached to ESD differ among the Nordic countries (Andersen et al. 2015; Cars et al. 2014; Jóhannesson et al. 2011; Rolls et al. 2015; Åhlberg et al. 2015) but how deep these differences run is not known. The present research addresses this lack of knowledge. We look at current educational policies and draw out aspects which relate to ESD in each country, subjecting the results to recent and ongoing comparative analysis. The aim is twofold: First, to get a clear picture of educational policy pertaining to ESD (or its variants) and how each country is doing w.r.t. goal 4.7. Second, to get an overview of the Nordic countries as a whole and see whether a common Nordic approach to ESD can be detected. The research is based on discourse analysis of national policy documents (laws, national curricula, policy papers from the ministries, etc.) and of policy documents from school districts and municipalities. The research aims at answering two sets of questions. (1) Is there a policy regarding ESD in each of the Nordic countries? And to the extent that there are such policies, how do they construe ESD? (2) Is there a common understanding of sustainability as an aim in education and as an approach in schools in the Nordic countries? Andersen, M.U., Høgmo, N., Sandås, A. (2015). Learning from ESD projects during the UN decade in Norway. In Jucker and Mathar. (editors), Schooling for sustainable development in Europe (241-255). Dor-drecth: Springer. Cars, M., & West, E.E. (2014). Education for sustainable society: Attainments and good practices in Sweden during the United Nations Decade for Education for Sustainable Development (UNDESD). Environment, Development and Sustainability. doi:10.1007/s10668-014-9537-6. Jóhannesson, I.Á., Norðdahl, K., Óskarsdóttir, G., Pálsdóttir, A. & Pétursdóttir, B. (2011) Curriculum analysis and education for sustainable development in Iceland. Environmental Education Research, 17(3), 375-391, doi: 10.1080/13504622.2010.545872 Rolls, S. Madsen, K.D., Roug, T.I., Larsen, N. (2015). Search for a sea change, one drop at a time; Education for Sustainable development in Denmark. In Jucker and Mathar (editors), Schooling for sustainable devel-opment in Europe (257-277). Dordrecth: Springer Wolff, L-A., Sjöblom, P., Hofman-Bergholm, M., Palmberg, I. (2017). High performance education fails in sustainability? The case of Finnish teacher education. Education Sciences, 7(32), 1-23. Åhlberg, M.K:, Aineslahti, M., Alppi, A., Houtsonen, L.,Nuutinen, A.M. Salonen, A. (2015). Education for sustainable development in Finland. In Jucker and Mathar (editors), Schooling for sustainable development in Europe: (221-239). Dordrecth: Springer.
Original languageEnglish
Publication year2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventNERA 2020 - University of Turku, Turku, Finland
Duration: 4 Mar 20206 Mar 2020


ConferenceNERA 2020
LocationUniversity of Turku

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