Audit Instrument for Sustainability in Higher Education (AISHE)

Tags: ESD | curriculum | higher education | audit

Below is a report called 'Audit Instrument for Sustainability in Higher Education (AISHE)'.

In the former years and in various countries, in different ways attempts have been made to define the way in which Higher Education should contribute to sustainable development. One of these ways is the implementation of sustainable subjects in the curricula.

For example, there are the Charters of Talloires (1990), Kyoto (1993) and Copernicus (1994). In Agenda 21 (especially in Chapter 36) too, there are directions for the “sustainification” of Higher Education. Although these documents contain important guidelines for education, none of them offers concrete prescriptions on an operational level for what Higher Education should do exactly in order to contribute maximally to sustainable development.

At this moment, many Universities are working on the effective implementation of sustainable education. So, there is a great need for a concrete list of criteria, operationalized through some auditing instrument. This instrument should make it possible to decide by internal or external auditing, up to which level the University (or a part of it) has succeeded in implementing sustainability.

Following a request of the Dutch “Committee for Sustainable Higher Education (“Commissie voor Duurzaam Hoger Onderwijs”, CDHO) a working group has been installed, called the “Working Group on Criteria”. Under the supervision of this group this instrument is being developed, with the name:

AISHE - Auditing Instrument for Sustainability in Higher Education

Using AISHE, it will be possible to audit Universities (and other organisations for Higher Education, like the Dutch “Hogescholen” and the German “Fachhochschule”) or parts of it (like Faculties or separate courses). Internal as well as external audits are possible. Perhaps the instrument can also be used in institutions for secundary vocational education; no research has been done on that.