Agronomy students suggest SDGs should be integrated in university curricular

Food production is essential to tackle global issues such as nutrition and food insecurity and to improve livelihoods of the world’s poor people. Education, information exchange and knowledge about the food system and about sustainable development in general, will play a central role in the transition towards global sustainability. And so it’s not a surprise that quality education is explicitly stated as one of the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs.

Being agronomy students, we believe that it is us and our classmates who will be among key actors in achieving the 2030 Agenda because agronomists specialise in improving food production at all levels of the value chain.

But are agronomy students aware of their role in sustainable development? And are the SDGs even integrated into agronomy education? To find out, we conducted a study based on interviews with different SLU educators involved in the agronomy programs and a survey amongst agronomy students. The project screened the knowledge of the SLU agronomy students and the interest they have in the 2030 Agenda. In order to understand how students believe that the goals are implemented in their programs, we focused the survey on four of the Goals Sustainable Development Goals relevant to agronomists:

We also included questions about sustainable development in general and about the extent it is implemented in the agronomy programs.

So what did we find out?

Our results show that there is specialised knowledge on various topics related to the different objectives of the SDGs. However, there is a lack of general knowledge about sustainable development among agronomy students. To increase this general knowledge, the report recommends that course leaders and lecturers should have a distinct curriculum, which explicitly describes how to mainstream sustainability in the university education programs. SLU Global, a department at SLU that works with global development issues from a research perspective, can play an important role in the further integration of sustainability issues in the agronomy programs.

Do you want to find out more about the study? Read the full report on our website or watch the authors present their report at the SIANI Annual Meeting 2017 below.

Are you interested to find out what agronomists do or do you want to study agronomy? Check out the website of the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SLU.

This is a summary of the report: Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet och Agenda 2030: Lägesrapport om SLU:s arbete med hållbarhetsfrågor inom Agronomprogrammen. Both report and summary were written by Maria Eklund, David Gevert, Elin Hålldin, Rebecca Hymnelius and Maja Möller; a project group of agronomy students, year 4, SLU.