Postgraduate studies in education for sustainability: An investigation of why, what, where and impact

Annette E. GOUGH, Po Keung Eric TSANG, Noel GOUGH

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


The world is increasingly recognising the importance of addressing key issues such as climate change, environmental protection and clean air and water through initiatives such as Agenda 21 (United Nations, 1993), and the Sustainable Development Goals (United Nations, 2016). In 2013 Hong Kong Institute of Education launched a one-year full-time Master of Arts in Education for Sustainability degree, targeted at an international audience. The program is an educational innovation that seeks to graduate students who will reform the contemporary world. The first cohort commenced in September 2014, and this research investigates the motivations of students who enrolled in the first three cohorts of the program, particularly • where the students come from • their undergraduate background • their reasons for enrolling in the program • what they learned from the program • where they are now • whether the program changed their career directions. All students enrolled to date were to complete a questionnaire that addressed the above questions (approximately 100 students). Their responses were analysed thematically and provide insight into the role of the Masters degree in developing graduates’ abilities to reform the contemporary world. This is particularly important in the Hong Kong SAR and China because most graduates come from mainland China, and China recently released its 13th Five-Year Plan on Education Development (CPC, 2017). The Plan defines the requirements for implementing ESD at all education levels in China for the next five years. This paper reports on how well prepared the students feel to work towards these goals in China and elsewhere. Copyright © 2017 The Education University of Hong Kong.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017



Gough, A., Tsang, E., & Gough, N. (2017, November). Postgraduate studies in education for sustainability: An investigation of why, what, where and impact. Paper presented at the WERA Focal Meeting & HKERA International Conference 2017 (WERA-HKERA 2017): Innovation, Reform and Education Change in a Contemporary World, The Education University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China.