Special Issue "Education for Social Transformation: Initiatives and Challenges in the Contexts of Globalization and the Sustainable Development Goals"

A special issue of Education Sciences (ISSN 2227-7102).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2018

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Richard Maclure

Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, K1N 6N5, Canada
Website | E-Mail
Interests: education and governance in the global South; education for social transformation; children's rights; youth studies; international aid to education; participatory action research

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In response to the imperative of nurturing the capacity of children and young people to fully understand and effectively address the multi-faceted dilemmas of globalization, growing numbers of teachers, school administrators, and educational scholars have embraced the notion of education for social transformation (EST).  Acknowledgment of EST has likewise crept into the policy-making discourse of governments and international organizations, and is prominent in numerous pronouncements of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), notably Goal # 4 (“To ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”).  Conceptually EST consists of two strands: the social justice strand which focuses on goals such as human rights, inclusiveness and equity, global citizenship, and participatory democracy; and the environmental strand that aims to generate active support for environmental protection and the attainment of a more sustainable balance between human activity and the natural ecology. Pedagogical initiatives such as student-centered inquiry, teaching as a form of guidance and mentorship, and the promotion of communities of learning exemplify efforts to foster and expand the practice of EST. 

Yet EST is not without considerable challenges. While social transformation is commonly regarded as necessitating struggle against prevailing power structures, EST is a learning-by-doing process which, especially for children and young people, depends substantially on the power as well as the guidance of educators, family members and other adults. It must likewise contend with the contradiction of striving to connect learning with action for social change in the context of education systems and policy-making forums that continue to reinforce many of the values and structures that EST challenges. This special edition of Education Sciences will consist of studies that critically examine the promise as well as the limitations of child- and youth-oriented EST, thereby contributing to the theory of EST and its further development in practice.


Azaola, M. C. (2014). Community school programmes in Latin America: Imagining the long term impact of developing pupils’ agency. International Journal of Education Development, 38: 80–86.

Bellino, M. E., & Adams, J. D. (2017). A critical urban environmental pedagogy: Relevant urban environmental education for and by youth, Journal of Environmental Education, 48(4): 270-284.

Borish, D., King, N., & Dewey, C. (2017). Enhanced community capital from primary school feeding and agroforestry program in Kenya. International Journal of Educational Development, 52: 10–18.

Bourn, D., and Issler, S. (2010). Transformative Learning for a Global Society. In G. Elliott, C. Fourali, & S. Issler (eds.), Education and Social Change: Connecting Local and Global Perspectives (pp. 225–237). London and New York: Continuum.

Brissett, N., & Mitter, R. (2017). For function or transformation? A critical discourse analysis of education under the Sustainable Development Goals, Journal for       Critical Education Policy Studies, 15(1): 181–204.

Brown, E.J. (2015). Models of transformative learning for social justice: Comparative case studies of non-formal development education in Britain and Spain, Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, 45(1): 141-162.

Freire, P., & Shor, I., 1987. A Pedagogy for Liberation: Dialogues on Transforming Education. Basingstoke, U.K.: Macmillan.

Hickling-Hudson, A. (2011). Teaching to Disrupt Preconceptions: Education for Social Justice in the Imperial Aftermath. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, 41 (4): 453–465.

Kurubacak, G., & Yuzer, T. V. (2011). Handbook of research on transformative online education and liberation models for social equality. Hershey, PA: IGI Global. https://www.igi-global.com/gateway/book/41893

Maclure, R. (2017). Youth reflexivity as participatory research in Senegal: A field study of reciprocal learning and incremental transformations, Social Inclusion, 5 (3): 251 – 261.

Manteaw, O. O. (2012). Education for sustainable development in Africa: The search for pedagogical logic, International Journal of Educational Development, 32: 376–383.

McCowan, T. (2010). School democratization in prefigurative form: Two Brazilian experiences. Education, Citizenship and Social Justice, 5(1): 21–41.

McInerney, P., Smyth, J., & Down, B. (2011). ‘Coming to a place near you?’ The politics       and possibilities of a critical pedagogy of place-based education, Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 39(1): 3-16.
Mezirow, J. & Associates, eds. (2000). Learning as Transformation: Critical Perspectives on a Theory in Progress. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass.

Ontong, K., & Le Grange, L. (2015). The need for place-based education in South       African schools: The case of Greenfields Primary, Perspectives in Education, 33(3): 42–57.

Payne, P. G. (2016). The politics of environmental education. Critical inquiry and education for sustainable development, Journal of Environmental Education, 47(2): 69-76.

Reis, G, & Ranilce, G.-I. (2012). The death and life of a school-based environmental education and communication program in Brazil: Rethinking educational leadership and ecological learning, Applied Environmental Education & Communication, 11: 123–132.

Toukan, E. (2017). Expressions of liberal justice? Examining the aims of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals for education. Interchange, 48(3): 293–309.

Prof. Dr. Richard Maclure
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Education Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • education for social transformation
  • social justice
  • environment
  • globalization
  • Sustainable Development Goals
  • power
  • contradictions

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle Understanding Student Participation in the Internationalised University: Some Issues, Challenges, and Strategies
Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(3), 96; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8030096
Received: 28 April 2018 / Revised: 16 June 2018 / Accepted: 28 June 2018 / Published: 29 June 2018
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The globalisation of higher education has resulted in an increasingly culturally and linguistically diverse student demographic and, with it, a number of significant challenges as well as frequently cited benefits. This article looks specifically at the issue of student participation, highlighting, in particular,
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The globalisation of higher education has resulted in an increasingly culturally and linguistically diverse student demographic and, with it, a number of significant challenges as well as frequently cited benefits. This article looks specifically at the issue of student participation, highlighting, in particular, its culturally contexted nature and the need for pre- and in-service teacher training and development programmes that raise teachers’ intercultural awareness and furnish them with the skills and strategies needed to manage the effects of diversity on patterns of participation in the classroom. It offers a number of concrete proposals for dealing effectively with participation-related issues in the classroom. Full article
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