The concept of sustainable development covers a wide range of issues and subjects. In 1987 the United Nations through the Bruntland Commission linked economic development and environmental stability (UNESCO, 2012). According to Emas (2015), the commission defined sustainable development as one that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. That is, sustainable development focuses on human needs and life supporting systems which includes earth, ecosystems, natural resources, culture and community.
Sustainable Development became an issue of major concern in 2012, when the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development negotiated an international agreement to come up with a new set of global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to guide the path of sustainable development in the world after 2015.
According to UNESCO (2012), the sustainable development goals were intended to go beyond the millennium development goals which expired in 2015. They were focused to provide a comprehensive vision for the evolution of all countries in the years ahead. SDGs were universal, addressing significant challenges to developed countries in transforming their own societies and economies in a more sustainable direction, as well as contributing strongly to the global effort to speed the achievement of sustainable development in the developing countries. Of all 17 SDGs, goals number 11 to 15 addressed major environmental issues such as ensuring safe, resilient, and sustainable human settlement, consumption and production patterns, combating climate change and impacts, sustainable conservation of marine resources, and restoring and promoting sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems ( Ssozi,2012, Walker 2013, Wheeler, 2000).
One of the main aspects to achieving sustainable development is through education. Education for sustainable development constitutes an important part in ensuring that human beings acquire knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values necessary to shape a sustainable future. According to Kimaryo (2011), education for sustainable development envisions a better world where there is a balance between economy, ecology and society. In practice, Ssozi (2012) pointed out that education for sustainable development should address holistically other academic disciplines apart from ecosystem and life science. The author suggests inclusion of societal development, economic growth and environmental conservation. This is important as economic growth has been achieved through unfair deals without taking into consideration environmental consequences and the communities whose survival depends on the environment and the resources therein. Therefore it can be said that the essence of introducing education for sustainable development is to dissolve the artificial boundaries between the environment, economy, and society. The education for sustainable development concept is well described in the sustainability model as shown in figure 1 below.