http://www.guni-rmies.net/img/logo.gifIn this article, Jesús Granados calls for the need of a new education where new forms of knowing and learning how to be human in a different way has a primary role. Thus, he argues, Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) has emerged as a paradigm for revising and reorienting today’s education.
Introduction

Our imperfect world is marching inexorably towards uncertain future scenarios, and we must try to redirect it towards sustainability that is, towards a new way of doing things in order to improve our environment while at the same time achieving justice, social equity and economic solvency. But change is impossible without learning, just as learning is impossible without change. In the text that follows, I will analyse the need for a new form of education in today’s society and identify the specific challenges that higher education faces.
Characteristics of our current society

We live in a world in crisis, in a knowledge society, and in an era in which time is liquid: nothing lasts; everything changes and is unstable. The diverse and heterogeneous society of the new millennium is characterised by a series of internal crises in the welfare state: the social crisis, the environmental and unsustainability crisis, the crisis of states, the threat posed by globalisation, and finally, the crisis of democracy. The consequences of these crises include the exacerbation of social and economic inequality; the emergence of a global form of planetary management with new decision-making centres that have undermined the decision-making power of individuals and states; and citizens’ loss of confidence in the democratic system due to the perception that political decisions are distant and difficult to influence...
The need for a new education

In the beginning, education and the ideals it embodied aspired to create a “perfect” citizenry. Later, the objective shifted to ensuring that citizens were well-trained, and more recently it shifted once again to the awakening of the critical spirit. Today, the ideal is creativity: the capacity to learn and a lifelong willingness to face new things and modify learned expectations accordingly; there can be no learning without re-learning, without the revision that must be undertaken when we realise the weakness of what we thought we knew. In a knowledge society, education is the capacity to be creative in an environment of particular uncertainty, the capacity to properly manage the cognitive dissonance that gives rise to our failure to comprehend reality (Innerarity, 2010). Therefore, in the world of liquid modernity, we must move away from sporadic education and towards lifelong learning. This entails overcoming security-driven resistance: the pillars to which we cling because they lend us a sense of security a mistake in a world filled with insecurities and ephemeral validities...
Reformulation of higher education

Einstein once said that no problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it. Current needs suggest that we must learn to view the world and, therefore, education in a new way. Higher education has in the past demonstrated its crucial role in introducing change and progress in society and is today considered a key agent in educating new generations to build the future, but this does not exempt it from becoming the object of an internal reformulation.
According to the World Declaration on Higher Education for the 21st Century (1998), higher education is facing a number of important challenges at the international, national and institutional levels. At the international level, there are two main challenges. The first is the role of supranational organisations such as UNESCO in advancing the prospection of trends and improvements, as well as in promoting networking and twinning programmes among institutions. The European Union (EC-JRC, 2010), for example, has stressed that higher education must change and adapt to economic and social needs, that institutional change is essential to educational innovation, and that information and communication technologies must form part of the teaching and learning process. The second international challenge is to encourage international cooperation between institutions in order to share knowledge across borders and facilitate collaboration, which, furthermore, represents an essential element for the construction of a planetary (Morin, 2009) and post-cosmopolitan citizenship (Dobson and Bell, 2006): the assumption of interdependence, “deterritorialisation”, participation, co-responsibility, and solidarity among all inhabitants of the planet. States must provide the necessary financing so that universities can carry out their public-service function. States may also enact laws to ensure equality of access and strengthen the role of women in higher education and in society...