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11 june 2019 15:02:43

 
Sustainability, Vol. 11, Pages 3227: Sustainability Strategies in Portuguese Higher Education Institutions: Commitments and Practices from Internal Insights (Sustainability)
 




The Copernicus Declaration of 1994, which was understood as a commitment to sustainable development (SD) by top management in higher education, was signed by many universities. This signature worked as an important driver for these institutions to put different dimensions of SD principles into practice. In Portugal, a Southern European country, six of the fourteen universities belonging to the Portuguese University Rectors Council signed the declaration, but no attempt has been made to evaluate how these public universities integrated education for sustainable development at policy and strategy levels. This paper presents the results of a study aimed at identifying to what extent the integration of sustainability in the fourteen universities was achieved, through their own strategic and activity plans and activity and sustainability reports. A detailed content analysis was conducted on these plans and reports within the period from 2005 to 2014 (the time frame of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development), to identify the main commitments and practices. Notwithstanding a lack of national integrated strategies or policies related to education for SD, the results show that the movement made progress at the university level, with good examples and initiatives at several universities. This paper highlights the importance of analyzing the content of plans and reports from higher education institutions (HEIs) when intending to assess and define a country profile for the implementation of sustainability in the educational sector. In addition, this research, conducted in Portugal, may be helpful to understand and value how SD is being applied in the policies and strategies of other European HEIs, as well as to share and encourage best practices and ways of improvement.


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47 viewsCategory: Ecology
 
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