Transformative Learning and Education for Sustainable Development

The major challenges that are defined and highlighted in Agenda 2030 will not be solved without far-reaching changes in society that are transforming the structures and ideas we have become accustomed to. The transition to sustainability, in all three dimensions of the concept, requires changing mindsets, perspectives and actions. Here, education has its given place and necessity. Education and learning are seen by the world community as the key to a sustainable world. Education is a fundamental human right and a prerequisite for change. Education can be an effective way to combat poverty in the world, strengthen equality, improve our health, broaden our views and, not least, equip us for contemporary challenges and changes. Through education that is rooted in the understanding of what sustainability means, transformative learning can take place. This educational focus is called Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and is a clear interdisciplinary area in the borderland between sustainability studies and educational science.

In global health, this transformative learning is expressed in terms of implementing evidence, 'resilience' and 'empowerment', both in counteracting transnational health threats and in the quest for equality in health. ESD is about gaining new and critically reflective knowledge and skills that reflect the goals of sustainable development, and organizations, companies, institutions and communities need to be permeated by these. ESD goes beyond access to education, and beyond education as a reproduction of current norms and values, to education that fosters transformative key competencies.