Education for just transitions: lifelong learning and the 30th anniversary Human Development Report

McGrath, S. and Deneulin, S. (2021) Education for just transitions: lifelong learning and the 30th anniversary Human Development Report. International Review of Education, 67(5), pp. 637-658. (doi: 10.1007/s11159-021-09914-w)

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The 30th anniversary Human Development Report, entitled The Next Frontier: Human Development and the Anthropocene, was released by the United Nations Development Programme in December 2020. It marks an important step forward as a high-profile publication trying to radically re-think the challenge of sustainable development and revisit what it means to develop as human beings interconnected within earth systems. This article provides a critical reading of the report, and human development literature more widely, in assessing the role of lifelong learning in educating for just transitions, which it broadly understands as the transformation of all social systems, including economic systems, to bring them back into balance with earth systems in which they are embedded. The report maintains its trademark “human development lens” which has characterised the series since their inception in 1990. It prioritises consideration of capabilities, agency and values as central to the challenge, and opens up a discussion of how we need to change our understandings, values and actions, including what it means to be human, in order to effect just transitions towards sustainability. However, as the authors demonstrate, the report falls short of considering the lifelong learning challenge inherent and central to just transitions. The authors argue that the pressing challenge of responding to the climate emergency requires a richer understanding of how humans learn throughout their life course. In so doing, this article is a contribution to both the literature on education and human development, and the growing body of literature in the field of adult education and sustainability.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:McGrath, Professor Simon
Authors: McGrath, S., and Deneulin, S.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Journal Name:International Review of Education
ISSN (Online):1573-0638
Published Online:24 August 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Authors
First Published:First published in International Review of Education 67(5): 637-658
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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