Towards Sustainable Education: Global Goals and Local Contexts

Hilton Garden Inn, Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates

November 1-3, 2022

Under the stewardship of the United Nations (UN), the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have become a cornerstone of governmental policy and a rallying cry for the protection of both people and planet since 2015 (UN, n.d.). To achieve these 17 goals by 2030, governments everywhere have adopted various strategies, visions, and approaches to pursue continued growth and development, including across the Gulf states (SDG Index, n.d.). Environmental sustainability, in particular, features prominently on Gulf states’ agendas, especially with the 28th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) scheduled to take place in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in late 2023 (IISD, 2023).

However, educational sustainability – aside from environmental sustainability – has also been a central focus for policymakers in the Gulf, such as in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Oman (UAE MOE, 2022; Saudi Arabia MOE, 2021; Zawya, 2022). More recently, these governments’ agendas have shifted to further align with SDG 4, which urges states to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” within their borders (UN, n.d.). This is intimately linked to SDG 8, which prioritizes the elimination of child labor and modern slavery, a prerequisite to enabling children to have access to any kind of education more generally (UN, n.d.). With educational sustainability and quality featuring prominently on the global agenda, the local context in the Gulf states must be re-evaluated to ensure that education systems and policies are tailored to the needs of local communities.

As we approach the end of the quarter-century, the 10th anniversary of the Gulf Comparative Education Society (GCES) Symposium invites scholars, thinkers, and educators to reflect on the intersection between sustainability in education, localization, and public policy in the Gulf region. This Symposium aims to provide scholars with the space to reflect on how education in the Gulf can become more sustainable by 2030 by focusing on key issues within the sector, such as equity and inclusion, privatization, education reform, and teacher professional development, among others. Comparative studies are further welcome.

  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion in education
  • Privatization of schools and curricula
  • Philanthropic flows and partnerships within the education sector
  • Mental health, emotional intelligence, and education psychology
  • Experiential learning, lifelong learning, and alternative practices
  • Teacher training, management, and professional development
  • Education as a means for greenwashing
  • Role of schools/universities as community hubs for environmental education
  • System reform and education policy

The deadline for the submission of abstracts is May 1, 2023. Authors should submit abstracts up to 250 words in length, along with 5 to 6 keywords. Submissions can be in English or Arabic. If you have any questions, please send an email to the GCES Secretariat at Scholars also have the option of submitting their abstracts for an entire panel, which can be up to 500 words in length. To submit your abstract, please click here.

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