The goal of sustainability in education is linked to Objective 4 in Agenda 2030 which deals with ensuring that all students receive the knowledge and skills that they need to promote sustainable development: ‘Good Education, is a basic human right’. Research shows that inclusive education of good quality for all is one of the most important cornerstones for wellbeing, good health and equality in every society. The Higher Education Act also identifies the mandate that institutions of higher learning have to take responsibility for taking promoting and keeping sustainability in mind (ecological, social, and economic sustainability). ‘Institutions of higher learning are to promote sustainable development, which means that current and future generations are ensured a good, healthy environment, economic and social welfare, and justice’. The fact that the university’s programmes and courses are linked to sustainability is becoming an ever more important factor in attracting students who want to study precisely here, with us.
Integrating sustainable development into our programmes and courses is done by developing students’ knowledge about sustainable development, their ability to contribute to sustainable development, as well as seeing to it that classes are taught in a sustainable and inclusive manner. Working with sustainability in programmes and courses means working to a greater extent across the boundaries between disciplines to meet the ecological, social, and economic challenges that the world is facing.
Within the framework of the university’s vision, commitment, and national mandate, programmes are to equip students for contributing to climate adaptation and sustainable resource efficiency, for handling and preventing unfair conditions, for contributing to a good, healthy study environment (free from abuse and discrimination) and for creating a sense of wellbeing.
In the concept of sustainability is included gender equality and our responsibility for mainstreaming the gender perspective in our core processes, working to prevent problems caused by gender inequality in our programmes and courses. This is regulated by the Higher Education Act, through our government mandate, and via JiHU – Mainstreaming of Gender Equality in Institutions of Higher Learning – based on political objectives with the mainstreaming of gender equality as a tool for change. Likewise, our efforts to create a level playing field are based upon provisions of the Anti-Discrimination Law. We as an education provider have a particular responsibility to prevent discrimination linked to programmes and, based on disability policy and relevant legislation, to work preventatively on issues of accessibility. Our work on broadening recruitment and participation is another area with direct relevance to sustainability that is linked to programmes. All of these aspects therefore need to be linked and included in our sustainable development project and integrated into each work unit’s local priorities and activities.