Special Issue "South/North Perspectives on Global Learning for Sustainable Development"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Education and Approaches".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 September 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Birgitta Nordén
Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Education & Society, Malmö University, Sweden
Interests: transdisciplinary learning in HE; global learning and teaching towards sustainability; GLSD; educational sciences; critical knowledge capabilities; teacher students´ place-based learning; interdisciplinary research areas
Dr. Helen Avery
Website
Guest Editor
Centre for Middle Eastern Studies, Lund University, Sweden
Interests: capacity-building in higher education; refugee education, post-conflict dynamics; transitions to sustainability; systemic design; future-oriented methodologies.

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues

This call for a Special Issue aims to present perspectives from all continents on what Global Learning for Sustainable Development can be today, and what it could mean for the future of our planet.

When the term was originally coined ten years ago, the intention was to underline that cooperation and intelligent action is needed on a global scale, to resolve the serious environmental threats our modes of production have resulted in. Global action is also necessary to address famine, war, forced displacement or population explosion. Unfortunately, despite several international conferences and significant agreements, we can see that sustainable development is still interpreted as continuing on a path of unrestrained economic expansion. Education for sustainability in schools or universities is still very far from transforming societies or enabling transitions to sustainability. The question is therefore what can global learning mean, if our aim is not only to achieve incremental improvements, but to reverse current trends before we cross even more tipping points? How can we define truly sustainable development, while seriously considering both economic and technological implications? How can we as societies organize our learning for transitions to sustainability, within and outside existing formal education systems?

Dr. Birgitta Nordén
Dr. Helen Avery
Guest Editors

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. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 CHF (Swiss Francs). 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.

Keywords

  • Global learning for sustainable development
  • Curriculum development for sustainability
  • Education policy for sustainability
  • Lifelong learning and learning communities for sustainability
  • Vocational education for sustainability
  • Education for sustainability in higher education
  • Globalization
  • Technological paradigms
  • Transitions to sustainability
  • Future-oriented methodologies.

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
We Learnt a Lot: Challenges and Learning Experiences in a Southern African—North European Municipal Partnership on Education for Sustainable Development
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8607; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208607 - 17 Oct 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
This study investigates a reciprocal partnership between two cities in Namibia and Sweden to deepen the understanding of challenges and learning outcomes in a project on education for sustainable development. Since 2008, two municipalities have developed a strong partnership via The Municipal Partnership [...] Read more.
This study investigates a reciprocal partnership between two cities in Namibia and Sweden to deepen the understanding of challenges and learning outcomes in a project on education for sustainable development. Since 2008, two municipalities have developed a strong partnership via The Municipal Partnership Programme at the Swedish International Centre for Local Democracy. Municipal partnerships are results-oriented collaborations in joint projects on sustainability. The purpose is to describe how eight team members in the mutual South-North project, by addressing similar problems in different contexts, experienced challenges in the implementation of the project plan, solutions and learning processes. Semi-structured interviews were conducted at the end of the second project year. Transcripts and field notes were analysed using a phenomenographic approach and contextual analysis. Five main categories of description based on collective statements and three dimensions of learning were recognised in the research data. The analysis identifies strategies for critical knowledge formation and capability building to support mutual learning in South-North Municipal Partnerships. The concluding discussion spots the learning dimensions—how sharing experiences by justifying non-formal and transformational learning promotes organisations’ readiness for knowledge formation by conducting mutual global learning towards sustainable development goals. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Global Learning from the Periphery: An Ethnographic Study of a Chinese Urban Migrant School
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 381; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010381 - 03 Jan 2020
Abstract
This paper presents an ethnographic study on the global learning practice of teachers and students in a Chinese internal migrant school. Rural children have relocated to urban centers with their parents on a massive scale over the past decades, as China undergoes rapid [...] Read more.
This paper presents an ethnographic study on the global learning practice of teachers and students in a Chinese internal migrant school. Rural children have relocated to urban centers with their parents on a massive scale over the past decades, as China undergoes rapid economic changes. Many migrant children have to attend privately run migrant schools which often function within limited budgets. Drawing on various types of data, this study investigates informal learning in a global context. In particular, the research focuses on a Scout program that is modeled on world Scouting movements and that is tailored for the migrant pupils’ educational demands. The data collection tools include participant observation, in-depth interview and document collection. The research finds that, with limited educational resources, the informants learn globally to improve the sustainable development of the migrant pupils, to fight against educational inequality, and to facilitate mutual understanding between the migrant and the urban communities. This paper concludes that global learning plays an important role in the informants’ ‘’up-scaling” progress facilitated by their linguistic capacity, computer literacy, and social network. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Mutual Capacity Building through North-South Collaboration Using Challenge-Driven Education
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7236; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247236 - 17 Dec 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
The urgent need for actions in the light of the global challenges motivates international policy to define roadmaps for education on all levels to step forward and contribute with new knowledge and competencies. Challenge-Driven Education (CDE) is described as an education for Sustainable [...] Read more.
The urgent need for actions in the light of the global challenges motivates international policy to define roadmaps for education on all levels to step forward and contribute with new knowledge and competencies. Challenge-Driven Education (CDE) is described as an education for Sustainable Development (ESD) approach, which aims to prepare students to work with global challenges and to bring value to society by direct impact. This paper describes, evaluates and discusses a three-year participatory implementation project of Challenge-driven education (CDE) within the engineering education at the University of Dar es Salam, UDSM, which has been carried out in collaboration with the Royal Institute of Technology, KTH in Stockholm. Conclusions are drawn on crucial aspects for engineering education change through the lens of Activity Theory (AT), where CDE is brought forward as a motivating ESD initiative for engineering faculty and students. Furthermore participatory co-creation is notably useful as it aims to embrace social values among the participants. Also, traditional organizational structures will need to be continuously negotiated in the light of the integration of more open-ended approaches in education. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Zambian Civic Education Teacher Students in Norway for a Year—How Do They Describe Their Transformative Learning?
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7143; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247143 - 13 Dec 2019
Abstract
Through 10 years of cooperation between the University of Zambia and the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, 24 students of Civic Education (Social Sciences) from the University of Zambia had an opportunity to travel to Norway to have a different learning experience [...] Read more.
Through 10 years of cooperation between the University of Zambia and the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, 24 students of Civic Education (Social Sciences) from the University of Zambia had an opportunity to travel to Norway to have a different learning experience of Civic Education. In this study, we sought through qualitative questionnaires and interviews to understand how the former Civic Education teacher students describe their experiences and received benefits during the 10 months they spent at the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences. The study established that transformative learning takes time, but of paramount importance was that the students were able to critically reflect and act as change-makers at an individual, school, and/or society level. The study also noted that international student mobility can increase students’ transformative learning under certain conditions. Therefore, our study concludes that crucial factors for transformative learning consist of the combination of cultural mentoring, teaching practice, critical discussions, and critical theories. Additionally, the study notes that reframing our perspectives as learners, teachers, and researchers can lead to increased awareness of moral imperatives for satisfying human needs, ensuring social justice and respecting environmental limits as citizens in a global world. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Configurations and Meanings of Environmental Knowledge: Transitions from the Subjective Experience of Students towards the Intersubjective Experience of Us
Sustainability 2019, 11(11), 3050; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11113050 - 30 May 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Environmental-related education has inherited the concepts of complexity and uncertainty from environmental science. However, these concepts still refer to the environment as an “object” that is separate from the knowing “subject,” and not as a phenomenon always inserted into a specific context. With [...] Read more.
Environmental-related education has inherited the concepts of complexity and uncertainty from environmental science. However, these concepts still refer to the environment as an “object” that is separate from the knowing “subject,” and not as a phenomenon always inserted into a specific context. With the aim of contributing to generating contextualized environmental knowledge, this article explores the knowledge configuration itinerary regarding environmental issues that was developed by vulnerable students in public secondary schools located in peripheral municipalities of Santiago, Chile. The theoretical framework of complex thinking provides an epistemological opportunity to “read” and understand environmental knowledge within a web of co-determined spheres of social and community knowledge via the transition from “subjective understanding” to “intersubjective knowledge.” The knowledge configuration itinerary regarding the environment describes a transition from the sphere of the “self” towards an emplaced “us.” It was discussed that the incorporation of place in education is not only a pedagogical means, but also functions as an axis of meaning that highlights the multisemic nature of the environment in its different configurations. It was concluded that an educational project relevant to a global community must be founded upon those differences, as they provide opportunities for configuring knowledge as action and meaning. Full article
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