Competences for sustainable development in higher education - analysis of the Central and Eastern European Region




Higher education, competences, sustainable development, Eastern Europe, educational transition


Debates relevant to sustainability oriented teaching at higher education level anticipate the necessary transitions in curricula. In order to depict the overall ESD related transformation of university teaching, the authors examined (pre–requisites for the development of) university educators’ competences in 13 countries of the Central and Eastern Europe, and compared these findings with those from other European countries (similar in some aspects). The situation was analysed in a survey where national policy conditions for ESD at HE level were examined, and competences were outlined within good practice case studies according to the UNECE framework. The results show some deficits in professional development of university educators, where attention to competences is missing in general, and in the field of ESD in particular. In consequence, ESD approaches and principles are applied less frequently in this part of Europe.

From a broader point of view it was observed that opportunities for competence development at HE level exist but are unevenly distributed across countries. For support of professional development of university educators in the field of ESD competences, understanding of environmental education versus ESD is an important factor, and also acceptance of an inter– or transdisciplinary perspective. The authors argue that disciplinarianism is a deeply rooted part of academic culture in all post–socialist CEE countries, while for sustainability a transdisciplinary approach and the wider involvement of stakeholders is crucially needed. The context of the presented research is the University Educators for Sustainable Development (UE4SD) project where 53 partners from 33 European countries collaborate to identify the best ways to develop university educators’ competences in sustainability teaching. The outcomes of this project are briefly introduced in the article.


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Author Biographies

Jana Dlouhá

RNDr. Jana Dlouhá, Ph.D.

Envigogika chief editor

* I am an expert in environmental education and e-learning, my research position in the Charles University Environment Center includes coordination of national and international research and networking projects. * I have been teaching Czech and foreign students in the international study e-learning programs since 2007. * List of more than 100 publication includes articles in journals and book chapters. * I am founder and editor in chief of the peer reviewed journal Envigogika (since 2006). * I am also a member of the UNESCO Teacher Education for Sustainability WG and I was involved in the activities of the UN ECE Working Group on ESD Indicators. * On the national level I have been involved in the Working Group for the National Strategy for Education for Sustainable Development of the Czech National Environmental Council and the Expert group on ESD for the Czech Government (Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Education). * Since 2003 I am co-editor of the national environmental encyclopaedia Enviwiki (educational toolkit and Open Education Resource) * I have been working in the Charles University Environment Center since its establishment in 1992. Before I have worked in the Federal Ministry of Environment CSFR (Department of International Relations) where I helped to organize the First Ministerial Conference, within the "Environment for Europe" process which was held in 1991 at Dobris Castle.

Jiří Dlouhý

Charles University Environment Center


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28. 12. 2015

How to Cite

Dlouhá, J., & Dlouhý, J. (2015). Competences for sustainable development in higher education - analysis of the Central and Eastern European Region. Envigogika, 10(3).



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