Skills for Sustainable Development

Skills for Sustainable Development   The fourth goal of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which c続きを読む

SKY[Skills and Knowledge for Youth] ホーム Skills for Sustainable Development

Skills for Sustainable Development


The fourth goal of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which consist of 17 goals proposed by the United Nations in 2015, mentions global educational. The goal aims not only to increase school enrollment and completion rates, but also to ensure learning outcomes including cognitive and non-cognitive skills. Target 7 indicates that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development. Given these situations, what are the skills for sustainable development is a question being asked around the world, both in developed and developing countries.

To measure skills for sustainable development, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is testing global competency. OECD has been implementing PISA to measure the 21st century competencies such as problem-solving skills. Responding the SDGs, PISA also started to measure new competencies called “global competencies” from 2018. These global competencies have four components: (1) the capacity to examine issues and situations of local, global and cultural significance; (2) the capacity to understand and appreciate different perspectives and world views; (3) the ability to establish positive interactions with people of different national, ethnic, religious, social or cultural backgrounds or gender; and (4) the capacity and disposition to take constructive action toward sustainable development and collective well-being (OECD 2018).

As measurement at the basic education stage progresses, however, challenges remain regarding the consistency of skills for sustainable development and the integrity of vocational schools. It has been pointed out that the current discussion of skills for sustainable development is inadequate in terms of educational outcomes, poverty alleviation, and ensuring decent work (McGrath 2016). Skills for sustainable development alone are not enough to complement the two main purposes of TVET, namely, to promote national economic growth through enhanced productivity; and to enhance employability through skills formation proposed (Anderson 2008; McGrath and Powel 2016). Numerous micro firms are still struggling with the expansion of their scale in developing countries, and at this stage, technical skills formation is emphasized as a crucial element. Nonetheless, the drive towards green skills has tended to be neglected at the technical level (McGrath et al. 2019).

In order to cope with social changes, skills for sustainable development has been emphasized by global educational stakeholders. Although the acquisition of skills for sustainable development has been progressing in terms of the measurement of basic education in developed countries, led by PISA, it has to be consistent with other education levels and the background of each country. Therefore, the skills for sustainable development should be considered within each country’s context and each education level respectively.

(Yujiro Yamazaki)



Anderson, D. (2008) Productivism, vocational and professional education, and the ecological question. Vocations and Learning 1, 1, 105-129.
McGrath, S., and L. Powell (2016) Skills for Sustainable Development. International Journal of Educational Development 50. 12-19.
McGrath S., Ramsarup P., Zeelen J., Wedekind V., Allais S., Lotz-Sisitka H., Monk D., Openjuru G. and Russon J. (2019) Vocational education and training for African development: a literature review, Journal of Vocational Education & Training, 1-21
OECD (2018). Preparing our Youth for an Inclusive and Sustainable World: The OECD PISA Global Competence Framework. Retrieved from