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The SDGs and Higher Education: impacts on policy and practice

The United Nations Member States adopted The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in 2015. This Agenda continues to provide a global focus on peace and prosperity, both for people and the planet. It situates this work through the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which the UN notes as “an urgent call for action by all countries”, working in partnership. Whilst SDG 4 focuses on Quality Education and has clear connections to others, like Gender Equality (SDG 5), each of the 17 SDGs has implications for higher education. Moreover, HE has a useful role in our understanding of those other SDGs, and how they might reduce inequality, impact social, political, economic and cultural developments, in the shadow of socio-environmental crises.

This event was co-facilitated by the BERA HE and Social Theory SIGs, in order to offer a space to discuss and plan the production of a podcast series. The aim of the project is to produce a podcast series which looks at each SDG (or group of SDGs), in the context of HE policy and practice, and this event will be designed to enable attendees to co-create a plan for the production of the series.

An intervention from Jayashri Wyatt from Education Outreach at the UN will situate the global relationship between HE and the SDGs. This will prime breakout discussions designed to enable attendees: first to scope the connections between individual and groups of SDGs, and HE; and second, to scope teams for the production of individual podcasts.

The focus is on the intersections of HE and the SDGs, potentially grouped around education and specific needs.

  1. Personal needs: no poverty; zero hunger; good health and well-being; responsible consumption and production; clean water and sanitation; affordable and clean energy
  2. Social needs: quality education; gender equality; reduced inequalities; partnerships for the goals
  3. Ecological needs: climate action; life below water; life on land
  4. Resource needs: decent work and economic growth; industry, innovation and infrastructure; sustainable cities and communities;; peace, justice, and strong institutions.

This is by no means prescriptive and is one way of addressing our engagement with this broader issue of the relationship between HE and the SDGs. Of course, it might be that event attendees wish to curate a podcast focused on a specific SDG.

Draft programme:

16:00 Welcome, and aims of the event
Kate Mawson and Richard Hall
16:10 Keynote provocation, the SDGs and Educational Impacts
Jayashri Wyatt, United Nations
17:00 Layout of the BERA SDG podcast project
Kate Mawson and Richard Hall
17:15 Podcast breakout group discussion
17:50 Next steps
18:00 Close of event

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Profile picture of Kate Mawson
Kate Mawson, Dr

Principal Lecturer at Nottingham Trent University

Dr Kate Mawson has significant teaching experience across a range of institutions and has worked in Secondary and Higher Education institutions since 2002. Kate is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Founding Fellow of the...

Profile picture of Richard Hall
Richard Hall, Professor

Professor of Education and Technology at De Montfort University

Richard Hall is Professor of Education and Technology at De Montfort University. A National Teaching Fellow, Richard directs the research and evaluation work of the Decolonising DMU project. He is the author of The Hopeless University:...

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