En el 2001 en México, el Programa Nacional de Educación 2001-2006, resumía un sistema equitativo y de calidad, democrático, con legalidad y certeza jurídica. El Programa debía impulsar el desarrollo sostenible, con calidad educativa, derechos y obligaciones, base en la construcción de ciudadanía. La igualdad de oportunidades se tradujo en la inclusión social en educación para alcanzar la equidad social, igualdad política y reflejar la expansión del sistema. Estos objetivos son complejos y requieren evaluar sus resultados frente a los de un sistema educativo referente, democrático y con desarrollo sostenido (Suiza). La pregunta es,
¿en qué nivel, el Programa 2001-2006, lograó una política social para el desarrollo sostenible? Conjeturamos que al 2006, el sistema educativo mexicano no satisfacía la inclusión social para el desarrollo sostenible, y que quizás, esto se debía a la falta de flujos de fondeo gubernamental en todos los niveles educativos.
A large number of documents regarding the role of higher education in the creation of a sustainable civil society were written during the last 50 years within the framework of international and world
conferences: Talloires (1990), Halifax (1991), Rio de Janeiro (1992), Swansea (1993) and so on.
Literature is also integrated by a high number of good practices developed in a series of universities around the world. These chose the challenge of sustainability as one of the main objectives to be
pursued in the short, medium and long term. At the same time, universities, colleges, research institutes and agencies are creating networks, computing platforms and partnerships in order to exchange
experiences, share achieved results and improve opportunities for cooperation and research (SALOMONE, 2013).
Higher education has one across-the-board objective when taking the sustainability challenge, that is educate and train all future teachers, decision makers, students, professionals, experts, company
employees and common people to embrace sustainable and environment-aware approaches, behaviors, lifestyles and consumption patterns. The world of higher education shall commit especially to creating environmental basic teaching processes and promoting practices related to environment ethics.
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Children are the basis for all dimensions of sustainable development. They have a right to thrive, develop to their full potential, and live in a sustainable world. As such, children should be at the center of the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals. Many argue that sustainable development challenges are integrated. Poverty reduction, health, education, agriculture and energy, gender equality and social inclusion, and development within planetary boundaries must be tackled together, and an inter-generational vision of societal development must underlie the goals in these areas. Without this vision, there will be no capacity for nations to bring about sustainable development.
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At the Rio+20 conference the cooperation between science and policy was highlighted. A full list of recommendations was given in the “The Future We Want” outcome document, expressing the need for strengthening the collaboration between science and policy as well as the necessity of fostering international research collaboration so as to support sustainable development of society in the near future (paras. 48, 85(k), 88(d), United Nations General Assembly, 2012). Serving the same purpose, yet via different means the call for education for sustainable development was highlighted. Capacity building and development of sustainability competences are crucial for the present and future generations in terms of their acting and interacting in a sustainable manner (paras. 62, 229-235, United Nations General Assembly, 2012).
Through their education, research, and operations roles, higher education institutions (HEIs) create a societal impact that shows a strong potential to act as leverage point for sustainable development locally and globally (Sedlacek, 2011). They can be seen as essential drivers of education for sustainable development (ESD) and constitute fundamental vehicles to explore, test, develop and communicate conditions for transformative change (Rammel et al. 2015). Yet, in order to be truly transformative, higher education needs to transform itself (Fadeeva et al., 2014a; Rio+20 Treaty on Higher Education, 2015). Therefore, international as well as institutional stakeholders are demanded to rethink HEI and support policies that foster a substantial change in higher education for sustainable development.
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