Education 2030 : aligning sustainable development goals (SDGS) to and for a higher education

Zizka, Laura (Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne, HES-SO // University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland) ; Varga, Peter (Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne, HES-SO // University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland)

The UNESCO report entitled “Education 2030” posits the need to address the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at all stages of education. Higher Education (HE) institutions have begun implementing sustainability actions and initiatives on an individual (i.e., students or staff as change agents), instrumental (i.e., through courses and programs), and institutional (i.e., as part of strategy or mission/vision) level. While the three pillars of sustainability (environmental, social, and economic) should be addressed, there are often discrepancies as to what concepts should be taught and in which way. One solution could be to create a bridge between content and discipline-specific educational programs and the SDGs that most affect their industry or sector. Although previous researchers have examined the implementation of sustainability in education, both on and off-campus, scant research has studied what sustainability concepts are being taught or how they are directly linked to the SDGs put forth by the UN. Regarding one area of study, tourism, the United Nation’s World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) believe that tourism should make concerted and strategic efforts to contribute to all SDGs positively. Nonetheless, the UNWTO identified SDGs 8 (Decent Work Conditions), 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), and 14 (Life below Water) as the most relevant for the tourism sector. At the same time, the International Tourism Partnership (ITP) selected SDGs 4 (Quality Education), 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), 8 (above), 10 (Reduced Inequalities), and 13 (Climate Action). To examine pre-existing knowledge of sustainability concepts and SDGs, first semester students in one international hospitality management program in Switzerland completed the Sustainability Literacy test (SULITEST). The SULITEST an open online training and assessment tool designed to assess and improve sustainability literacy. The test offers the possibility to analyze student responses by theme or by SDG. For this study, the SDG results were analyzed to reveal the gaps in sustainability knowledge about the SDGs. These gaps will be used to create a framework to align specific SDGs to the hospitality management curriculum to ensure that their education mirrors the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. While focusing on hospitality management education, the purpose of this study is much broader. The purpose is to assist all HE institutions regardless of level or domain to develop a more effective framework for aligning SDGs with their specific programs and strategy based on their resources and relevance to the overall program objectives. By adopting a holistic approach to the 2030 Sustainability Agenda through research, education, operations/governance, and external leadership, considering all stakeholders in the sustainability goals, HE institutions can create authentic engagement with sustainability practices which will be continued upon graduation.

Conference Type:
full paper
Economie et Services
Aucun institut
Virtual conference, 6-7 July 2020
Virtual conference
6-7 July 2020
Pp. 279-284
Published in:
EDULEARN20 Proceedings : proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
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Note: The status of this file is: restricted

 Record created 2020-10-05, last modified 2020-10-27

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