Higher education and ESD in England: A critical commentary on recent initiatives

Stephen Sterling, William Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Citations (SciVal)


This paper provides a commentary on education for sustainable development (ESD) within higher education (HE) in England, set against the wider international and European background. The recent history of attempts to clarify ESD and its implications for higher education institutions is outlined, and some of the tensions between a developing agenda and the autonomy of universities are reviewed. The paper presents a summary of positive and negative trends and concludes that while the near future is likely to see ESD achieving a higher profile in HE, the question as to whether this signals a fundamental shift of policy and practice remains unresolved. It concludes with a commentary on recent empirical research that surveyed sustainable development focused work in English universities, and points to issues that might usefully be pursued when such research is build upon.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)386-398
Number of pages13
JournalEnvironmental Education Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2008


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