Formal education

As early as 1992, during the so-called Earth Summit (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), the multilateral community found ‘Promoting education, public awareness and training’ (Chapter 36 of Agenda 21) to be essential to sustainable development.

For the past twenty years, the forerunners have applied themselves to this - many on an ‘ad hoc’ basis. Conferences were organised, courses established and curriculums put under the microscope. We have since come to the point that ‘sustainable development’ has become an interdisciplinary end-term in secondary education and the first steps have been taken to integrate sustainable development in higher education.

We can however talk of a ‘time lag dilemma’. The majority of society acknowledges the urgency to address the challenge of non-sustainable development, but on the other hand, curriculum reforms are extremely slow. The result is that graduates still do not, or insufficiently, have the necessary knowledge and competencies to apply themselves to the required changes.

The contributions by the Institute for bridging this gap are primarily focused on higher education based on the expertise and experience of the founding members.