A competency framework to assess and activate education for sustainable development: Addressing the UN sustainable development goals 4.7 challenge

Naresh Giangrande (Lead / Corresponding author), Rehema M. White, May East, Ross Jackson, Tim Clarke, Michel Saloff Coste, Gil Penha-Lopes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)
90 Downloads (Pure)


The UN Transforming ourWorld: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (herein, Agenda 30) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) offer both a set of aspirations for the kind of future we would like to see for the world and a suite of targets and indicators to support goal implementation. Goal 4 promotes quality education and Target 4.7 specifically addresses Education for Sustainability. However, creating a monitoring and evaluation framework for Target 4.7 has been challenging. The aim of this research was to develop a meaningful assessment process. We used a dialogical intervention across complementary expertises and piloted concepts in a trainer workshop. We then developed a modified competency framework, drawing on previous competency models but innovating through the addition of intrapersonal competencies, a self-reflective validation scheme, a focus on non-formal learning, and specific alignment with SDG 4.7 requirements. Through exploration of how such learning could be activated, we proposed the use of multiple intelligences. Education plays a synergistic role in achieving the aspirations embedded within Agenda 2030 and the SDGs. We concluded that Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) will require individuals to acquire 'key competencies', aligning with notions of transformational learning, in addition to other generic and context specific competencies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2832
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 17 May 2019



  • Education for sustainable development
  • Evaluation framework
  • Key competencies
  • SDG 4
  • Sustainable development goals
  • Transformative learning

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