Higher Education is a key factor for social change influencing future decision-makers in business, education, politics and science. As such, sustainable development requires creating awareness amongst these decision-makers of their responsibilities and opportunities in this area. Higher education for sustainable development is championed in developed countries, but in developing countries it is just beginning to become an element of interest for the international community. The purpose of this study was to perform an assessment of the extent to which universities in Costa Rica are including education for sustainable development in their programs and curriculum, research and scholarship, faculty and staff development and rewards, outreach and service at the local, regional, national, and international level, student opportunities, and institutional mission and planning. The focus of this research is on universities in Costa Rica for being this country a pioneer in the region for introducing education for sustainable development in their national public education system. The study will be concluded describing some of the implications in the rest of the Latin America and the Caribbean region of the commitment of Costa Rica to ESD, specifically in higher education. The type of research selected for this study was quantitative-qualitative exploratory cross-sectional. The instrument selected was based on The Sustainability Assessment Questionnaire developed by the University Leaders for a Sustainable Future and supplemented with six addition questions based on the framework of UNESCO-DESD. Results of this study might provide relevant information to national and international organizations regarding the status of the inclusion of education for sustainable development in universities in Costa Rica. The study might also create awareness in universities in which sustainability is currently not being addressed. This study might promote actions or plans of action adopted by higher education institutes in the Latin America and the Caribbean region to meet the goal of UNESCO. The results of this research might be used as a baseline for future studies to perform full assessments of sustainability in institutes of higher education. These results also might motivate scholars to generate new theories and hypotheses from the data that emerged.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Sustainable development -- Costa Rica; Education, Higher -- Environmental aspects; Environmental education -- Curricula; Dissertations (EdD) -- Educational technology

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Weber, Margaret J.;