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Expanding our views of science education to address sustainable development, empowerment, and social transformation

  • Kyle, William C. Jr.1
  • 1 University Missouri - St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, 63121-4499, USA , St. Louis (United States)
Published Article
Disciplinary and Interdisciplinary Science Education Research
Springer Singapore
Publication Date
Jan 14, 2020
DOI: 10.1186/s43031-019-0018-5
Springer Nature


On 25 September 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution, which took effect 1 January 2016, to transform the world to better meet human needs and the requirements of economic transformation, while protecting the environment, ensuring peace and realizing human rights. Since 1987, there have been several global initiatives oriented toward sustainable development, yet science educators have often remained silent with respect to ensuring the goals of science education are linked intrinsically to the central tenets of sustainable development. Why such silence? Where are the voices of science educators? In this position statement, I offer a rationale for expanding our views of science education to address sustainable development, empowerment, and social transformation. Science education ought to be a primary vehicle for addressing the current and emerging global challenges facing humanity. All too often, science educators merely focus upon fostering awareness and concern for global challenges. Such an orientation falls short of the education discourse that ought to be oriented toward addressing the goals, aspirations, desires, and needs of youth, who presently number 1.8 billion and represent the largest segment of the global population being underserved. The active engagement of youth in sustainable development efforts is imperative to achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda. Youth are not mere beneficiaries of the 2030 Agenda; they have a critical role in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). I offer a rationale for why science educators ought to become active agents in facilitating the engagement of youth in addressing global challenges facing humanity. Youth are demanding action; science educators ought to enable learners and communities to transform and reinvent the world they are inheriting.

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