itdUPM, a case study in the SDSN guide “Accelerating Education for the SDGs in Universities”

Only ten years to go until the 2030 horizon agreed to meet the Sustainable Development Goals: what is being done by universities worldwide in order to educate on the SDGs? How are they transmitting to students, teachers and researchers the transformative action of the 2030 Agenda? And, ultimately, how are universities transforming themselves to meet the Agenda?

The guide “Accelerating Education for the SDGs in Universities”, recently published by SDSN – Sustainable Development Solutions Network, is an effort to shed light on this issue, and to help universities and other educational institutions to implement “Education for the SDGs” within their structures, regardless of their starting point or their country of origin.

Beyond teaching about SDGs, there is a need to incorporate new types of transformative training activities, employing interdisciplinarity, action-based learning and the participation of multiple actors, going beyond business as usual.

In the same way, there is a necessity of intermediary structures between different agents that operate in the university and outside of it. In this sense, the guide cites the example of itdUPM as an intermediary structure and innovative connecting tissue between research centers, teachers, students and non-academic agents such as companies, public administrations or NGOs. In other words, between top-down initiatives and bottom-up movements. Quoting the report: “Mostly, itdUPM aims to create a context where people can work with meaning (purpose), mastery (developing deep skills) and membership (community honoring individuality).”

The guide offers practical approaches and guidance on how to implement Education for the SDGs in a university, the roles of different stakeholders, how to overcome common barriers, etc. In addition, it is accompanied by a website developed by the Technical University of Madrid that contains almost 50 examples of how universities around the world are already accelerating the implementation of Education for the SDGs.

The guide, which has been developed in collaboration with the Technical University of Madrid, the SDSN Regional Network for Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific and Monash University, was presented during an online event on September 22. This event had the participation of our director Carlos Mataix.

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