Institutionalisation of Education for Sustainable Development by Networking - an Empirical Analysis of Learning Partnerships between Schools and Enterprises

  • Project no.3436
  • Duration 12/2011 - 11/2014

In scientific work on "Education for Sustainable Development" (ESD) the role of networks for spreading and institutionalising ESD is frequently highlighted. However only few theoretical and empirical research work about such networks exists.

The project aims at analysing how networks for ESD emerge, how they become successful and how much potential for the transfer of ESD they can offer. KURS 21 e.V. in Wuppertal (a network consisting of learning partnerships between schools and enterprises) is the case example for this analysis.

The following questions are addressed:

  • How do individual learning partnerships change structurally and in terms of topics over a longer period of time?
  • How do unequal balances of power in learning partnerships influence their success?
  • How does the network institutionalise itself?
  • How do ESD-topics spread in the involved organisations (schools and enterprises)?

These questions are empirically addressed in three subsequent studies. Study 1 is an exploratory case study of four selected learning partnerships (each between one school and one enterprise) showing an unequal balance of power. Study 2 builds up on this and is an analysis of the entire network based on structuration theory (11 learning partnerships and further organisations). It focuses the conditions of networking. Study 3 is a survey of the schools and enterprises that are members of the network and comparative schools outside the network. Using a questionnaire it will be analysed in how far transfer of ESD is achieved within the network. Finally the results of the three studies are merged. Scientific output is thereby scanned in terms of which theoretical and empirical results appear capable to create new impulse on network analysis and research in transfer.

In the joint project the Wuppertal Institute covers the network analysis based on structuration theory (Study 2). For this network analysis the preparatory case study of four learning partnerships is carried out in cooperation with the University of Wuppertal (Study 1). Research results will be presented together with the University of Wuppertal at (inter)national conferences and in scientific publications in the course of the project.


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