I listened recently to an address by Dr Shi Gendong, the Excutive Director/Chiarman of Beijing Association of Education for Sustainable Development, who spoke in a plenary session at the third GRESD conference in Uppsala [GRESD is the Swedish Graduate School in Education]. The extent to which the Chinese state has embraced and encouraged ESD is, at one level, astounding with humungous numbers of agreements, protocols, initiatives, schools, projects and activities — but not quite so surprising, perhaps, given the size and scale of China and its economy, and its recently-espoused internationalism. The talk focused at a number of levels of activity, but dealt in some detail on the Chinese "ESD Roadmap": 2-1-3-3-2-3-4 (for short), and ESD school assessment indicators (which I think ought to be "evaluation indicators", but never mind), and which aims to ensure "ESD quality from the perspective of curricular and teaching, school management, topic education, campus culture, students' quality, etc"., so as to "provide useful experience for the international community in further promoting ESD at the school level".
I had no sense, however, that any of this, undoubtedly extensive and careful, development, was related to a particularly sound conceptualisation of sustainable development. Nor was there any sense that there was a convincing means by which progress (or progression) could be measured. But perhaps the message lost something in its translation and mediation. What was needed was a seminar rather than a presentation.