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Executives play a decisive role in implementing education for sustainable development, both in educational institutions and in company-based education. That is why the PH Ludwigsburg, University of Education, in cooperation with other partners, is developing a new module entitled "Leadership for Education for Sustainable Development". The module will be presented in blended learning format with the majority of materials provided online. It will initially be integrated in the German extra-occupational Master’s program "Bildungsmanagement" (Education Management). It is planned to also offer it within the English Master’s program International Education Management (subject to approval) and can later be used in other contexts, e. g. as part of contact studies programs or as certificate courses.

Global challenges such as climate change, loss of biodiversity, degeneration of soil and water, hunger, poverty, migration, human rights, wars, terrorism, etc., call for determined, shared and cooperative action by the international community and individual countries. However, states and municipalities, business enterprises, associations and all other organizations also are in demand - and every individual as a citizen and a consumer.
In a series of international conferences, the international community has agreed on the vision of sustainable development. In 2015, the United Nations signed the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and endorsed the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs, see UN 2015). Germany, too, has set sustainability as a vision and mission for social development and, in 2002, launched a national sustainability strategy. The new and revised edition of the German sustainability strategy from 2016 is based on the 17 SDGs of the UN (see Federal Government 2016).
Education and training are very important for the implementation of sustainability as the primary goal of social development. Against this background, UNESCO proclaimed the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development from 2005 to 2014, which has produced a large number of projects.
Executives play a crucial role in education for sustainable development (ESD) and in the implementation of sustainability. In previous work on ESD, however, the role and tasks of executives have so far hardly been considered. Thus, e. g. the German daaccordion-tabase on ESD shows only 20 hits for the keyword "Führungskräfte" (from 1939 projects, see Dt. UNESCO commission n.d.).
A turnaround could be initiated by the Global Action Program on Education for Sustainable Development (GAP), the successor to the UN Decade, UNESCO identifies leaders of educational institutions as key target groups in their roadmap (UNESCO 2014, p. 18). The German National Action Plan on ESD also mentions the "development, testing, saccordion-tabilization and dissemination of qualification concepts for executives" in the various learning locations as an important goal (BMBF 2017, p. 43, translated). The universities are assigned an essential role in this process. As a “research and educational institution, they are central to sustainable development. Through research and teaching, universities develop and impart knowledge, skills, competencies and values and train multipliers and future leaders" (ibid., P. 47). The German Rectors' Conference addresses this concern and recommends anchoring the 17 sustainable development goals at German universities and developing a culture of sustainability (HRK 2018).

Since 2003, the Institute for Education Management at the University of Education at Ludwigsburg has been qualifying managers and junior executives for all areas of education with the extra-occupational master’s program “Bildungsmanagement” (Education Management). In line with the motto "Learning by the difference", students from adult education, schools, colleges, companies, early-education and health care organizations learn and work together and from each other. The study program starts in autumn 2019 with the 17th course cohort. During the last 16 years about 360 students have successfully completed their studies.
In 2010 the international Master Program “International Education Management” (INEMA) started at the Institute of Educational Leadership at PH Ludwigsburg. This extra-occupational master’s program is instructed in English. Supported by DAAD and GIZ, this joint master’s program was developed and accredited in cooperation with the Egyptian Helwan University. The program further develops the principle of "Learning by difference", especially for intercultural and international challenges. Meanwhile this extra has been carried out by 9 course groups and has produced about 140 graduates. Sustainability issues already play a major role in the work contexts of many students and are dealt with in module examinations and master theses. Considering the outstanding importance of this topic, we want to take up management tasks in the context of ESD through our own, newly developed module Leadership for Education for Sustainable Development.
This module is developed in cooperation with the Center for Lifelong Professional Development of Ludwigsburg University of Education, Germany, and other cooperation partners.

The module aims to qualify executives and professionals in educational contexts with the shaping competency to develop their organizations towards sustainability. It will initially be integrated into the German master's degree program Bildungsmanagement and then also in other contexts, e. g. it will be used in contact studies and training courses.

Web-based platform

We aim at developing an online teaching / learning offer that provides materials tailored to the target group and their tasks for self-organized learning and for the phases of attendance.
Against the background of the global perspectives of the topic and its use in an international student group, the offer will be written primarily in English. The framework text will additionally also be written in German. Furthermore, selected additional materials with a regional reference will be included and also written in German.

Seminar Design

We also aim at developing a portfolio of seminar designs that can be used in a variety of contexts (as a module in Master's degree programs, contact studies, continuing education).

  • Participants of the Master programs BiMa and INEMA (for INEMA subject to approval of all partners)
  • Managers and professionals from all areas of education: school, adult education, early education, higher education, health care and human resources development in companies and other institution that offer technical and vocational education and training (TVET).
  • The learning groups are composed differently. According to the motto "Learning by the difference", participants from different educational backgrounds, countries and cultures learn from and with each other.

BMBF (2017): Nationaler Aktionsplan für nachhaltige Entwicklung. Der deutsche Beitrag zum UNESCO-Weltaktionsprogramm.
Zum Online-Dokument

Dt. UNESCO-Kommission (o.J.): Datenbank der UN-Dekade Bildung für nachhaltige Entwicklung
Zum Online-Dokument

Hochschulrektorenkonferenz HRK (2018): Für eine Kultur der Nachhaltigkeit. Empfehlung der 25. HRK-Mitgliederversammlung vom 6.11.2018.
Zum Online-Dokument

UNESCO (2014): Roadmap zur Umsetzung der Weltaktionsprogramms „Bildung für eine nachhaltige Entwicklung"
Zum Online-Dokument



The module Lead4ESD is being developed as part of the project Center Prodev-Edu by the Institut für Bildungsmanagement in collaboration with the Zentrum für wissenschaftliche Weiterbildung/Center for Lifelong Professional Development.


The establishment of the ZWW is funded by the Ministerium für Soziales und Integration Baden Württemberg using financial means of the European Social Fund as well as by the Ministerium für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kunst Baden-Württemberg.

Institut für Bildungsmanagement > Abteilung Bildungsmanagement > Leadership for Education for Sustainable Development > Project Description
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