Education for Sustainable Development: An Exploratory Survey of a Sample of Latin American Higher Education Institutions

  • Paula Marcela Hernandez
  • Valeria Vargas
  • Alberto Paucar-CáceresEmail author
Part of the World Sustainability Series book series (WSUSE)


Education for sustainable development (ESD) is defined as the knowledge and skills ‘needed to work and live in a way that safeguards environmental, social and economic wellbeing, both in the present and for future generations’. Skills for sustainable development include critical thinking, creative thinking, systems thinking and leadership. Over the last decades, there has been efforts across the world to embed ESD into the curriculum. In European Union (EU) countries, some higher education have made efforts to align education strategies with international and national ESD frameworks. A cursory review of the literature seems to indicate that dissemination and implementation of the international ESD frameworks in Latin America has been slow and sporadic. Although there are some signs to implement ESD into curricula of countries such as Brazil and Colombia, these practices have not been substantial or have not permeated higher education sustainable development strategies. This paper aims to explore the developments of ESD in Latin America. As a first step to explore these developments, it intends to survey and map the current ESD processes in eight higher education institutions of four Latin American Countries: Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. The paper also aims to compare ESD developments with some leading EU higher education institutions in ESD with the view to develop a dialogue between the two regions. These will lead to strategies in which ESD processes can be adopted/adapted with benefits in both directions; it will also create, foster and develop mechanisms that will ensure a sustainable culture of ESD in higher education in both regions. Results of the exploratory survey of a sample of higher education institutions in Latin America are reported.


Education for sustainable development Curriculum development Latin America 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paula Marcela Hernandez
    • 1
  • Valeria Vargas
    • 2
  • Alberto Paucar-Cáceres
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Processes Engineering DepartmentUniversidad EAFITMedellínColombia
  2. 2.School of Science and EnvironmentManchester Metropolitan UniversityManchesterUK
  3. 3.Manchester Metropolitan University Business SchoolAll Saints CampusManchesterUK

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