School Leadership for Sustainable Development: A Scoping Review

  •  Idowu Mary Mogaji    
  •  Paul Newton    


Sustainable development within educational institutions encompasses an array of objectives as outlined in Agenda 21 (United Nations [UN], 1992). We recognize in this paper that there are cognate terminologies in the field of sustainable development: Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), Education for Sustainability (EfS), Development Education (DE), and Sustainability Education (SE). As stated in the Education for Sustainable Development toolkit (McKeown, 2002), ESD is the terminology most often employed within UN documents; hence, we also employ ESD because it is the term utilized by UNESCO and at the international level. Thus, we avoid the many debates about these terminologies in this paper.

The fundamental interest of this review is to assess the current status of school leadership for sustainable development in the K-12 context. With the help of a scoping review, three literature databases were combed to achieve this purpose. The findings reveal school leaders’ perceptions of sustainable development as well as their motives for engaging in ESD. Our analysis indicates that school leaders vaguely understand the term ‘sustainable development,’ and they interpret ESD from the lens of the environment and society. Thus, the economy component of ESD may be de-emphasized in implementation efforts.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.