Strategic Competencies, critically important for Sustainable Development

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This paper emphasizes the importance of strategic competencies in education for Sustainable Development. Sustainable Development has been introduced in universities in many different forms. The adjective “Sustainable” has sometimes been added to educational and research activities that were only slightly modified. Integrating SD in education is regarded with mixed feelings. At the one hand academics are often convinced that their own discipline can render large contributions. At the other hand, SD is often perceived as an external interference in their discipline, and therefore as an attempt to make science subordinate to interests. So, if there is a political necessity to do SD, academics often prefer to introduce a separate Sustainable Development course (which can easily be abolished again). In the SD community there is often an opposite view. SD should be integrated in disciplinary courses in order to make a discipline really committed to SD. However, there is a fear of fake integration, or an integration that just depends on the commitment of a single individual. The resulting situation is that SD integration is often limited to some specific courses (depending on the lecturers) and that there is sometimes a specific SD course (optional or compulsory). This paper will first describe why integration is often preferred and then makes observations regarding SD integrated in courses. Afterwards it argues that strategic competencies are crucial for working towards SD, and that these competencies cannot be integrated in ordinary disciplinary courses. It provides some options to teach/develop these competencies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-248
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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