Mapping Education for Sustainability in the Nordic Countries

(MESIN project)
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Initial planning in Iceland began in May 2018. A year later, in April 2019, the concept for the project had been developed further and the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture appointed Ólafur Páll Jónsson at the University of Iceland, School of Education, as the leader of the work (letter dated April 26th). In this letter, the main task is described in the following way:

To work constructively towards the implementation of SDG4.7, it is important to gather information on the situation in all the Nordic Countries w.r.t. those factors covered by the goal. With that in mind, mapping of how the implementation of

UNSDG 4.7 and all its subordinate factors is going in all the Nordic countries. The work is divided into two parts. Part (1) consists in analyses of policy documents, existing research and other available data, while Part (2) consists of data gathering. This work will be carried out in collaboration with universities in the Nordic Countries.

The two parts of the project were then divided into sub-projects in the following way:

Part 1:

  • Collect from laws, regulations, national curricula, and the curricula of teacher education institutions discussion about the elements of UNSDG 4.7. Are these factors mentioned and, if so, how? Deliverable: A unified presentation of the content of above-mentioned documents.
  • Analyse research and surveys, Nordic and international, which concern these factors. What do they tell us about the implementation of UNSDG 4.7? Do they provide any measures that can be utilized in the future? Deliverable: An overview of research on educational practice concerning UNSDG 4.7 w.r.t. the Nordic countries.
  • What information is available in surveys and external evaluation reports on pre-, primary, and secondary education? What other documents are available that might provide additional information? Deliverable: A report on what surveys and external reports say about UNSDG 4.7.
  • Review measures and indicators used to evaluate the success of the implementation of items that fall under UNSDG 4.7. Deliverables: Unified measures and indicators for the Nordic countries to evaluate UNSDG 4.7.

Part 2:

  • Teacher education: How are UNSDG 4.7 factors addressed in teacher education in the different Nordic countries? Data will be gathered by reading curricula and course descriptions together with focus groups with university teachers. (Part of this could already be available in existing research.) Deliverable: A common overview of emphasis in teacher education pertaining to UNSDG 4.7.
  • Elementary schools: What do principals and teachers say about the implementation of UNSDG 4.7? How has the implementation been carried out? In what subjects? ls there any organized work on school culture? Are there focus groups with principals and teachers? Deliverable: An overview implementation approaches and how principals and teachers view the issue.
  • Elementary schools: What support do the schools need to work more constructively with UNSDG 4.7? Deliverable: An overview of the kind of support for which there is most demand.
  • Elementary schools: Find examples of good practices and describe them. Deliverable: Descriptions of a few examples of what has been done well (one or two from each country).

The plan was to form project teams in each Nordic country comprised of a researcher and a graduate student or postdoctoral fellow. The group of project teams was formed by late May 2019 and held its first online meeting on June 19th. It was clear that the group would have to adjust the goals of the project to find a balance between what would be most relevant given the overall task and what would be possible to achieve within the limits of the project.

Ólafur Páll Jónsson (UI), Bragi Guðmundsson (UNAK), Anne Bergliot Øyehaug (INN), Robert James Didham (INN), Lili-Ann Wolff (UH), Stefan Bengtsson (UU), Jonas Andreasen Lysgaard (AU), Bryndís Sóley Gunnarsdóttir (UNAK), Sólveig María Árnadóttir (UNAK), Jørgen Rømoen (INN), Marianne Sund (INN), Emelie Cockerell (UH), Paul Plummer (UU), Mathilda Brückner (AU)