The Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Concept and the Sri Lankan University System: The Way Forward
Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is a concept which presents a new vision for education for the achievement of development that includes economic growth, social development and environmental protection, with culture as an underlying element. The ESD concept has its source in Agenda 21, a non-binding document for voluntary action adopted by 178 governments at the conclusion of the United Nations (UN) Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and it has been reaffirmed in subsequent international conferences and documentation. Chapter 36 of Agenda 21 identified four major thrusts of ESD. The most relevant for the purposes of this research is included in the second thrust: the need for reorienting existing university education to include more principles, skills, perspectives and values related to social, economic and environmental sustainability. This research analyzes the ESD concept as applied and developed during the Decade of ESD, but goes beyond the theoretical foundations to suggest possibilities (including action plans) for the future directions that could be taken by the Sri Lankan university sector with regard to ESD. One of the main issues is to identify where Sri Lankan universities can improve in the area of opportunities for multi-disciplinary studies and research and develop co-operation between different specialized fields in our university system, in place of the traditional isolation of disciplines.
- Law