Education for sustainable development
Sustainability education (SE), Education for Sustainability (EfS), and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) are interchangeable terms describing the practice of teaching for sustainability. ESD is the term most used internationally and by the United Nations. Agenda 21 was the first international document that identified education as an essential tool for achieving sustainable development and highlighted areas of action for education.
Concept and origin
One definition of Education for Sustainable Development is an “interdisciplinary learning methodology covering the integrated social, economic, and environmental aspects of formal and informal curriculum. This academic approach can help graduates nurture their knowledge, talents, and experience to play a role in environmental development and become responsible members of society. The Brundtland Commission defined sustainable development as meeting the needs of the present generation without putting at risk the capacity of generations to come in meeting their own requirements. This Agency used to be the World Commission on Environment and Development created in 1983. The idea of sustainable development originated from the United Nations Conference on Human Environment in Stockholm (Sweden 1972). There were two more global activities since then. These were the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development 1987 (Our Common Future Report) and the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development 1992 (Rio Earth Summit).
For UNESCO, education for sustainable development involves:
integrating key sustainable development issues into teaching and learning. This may include, for example, instruction about climate change, disaster risk reduction, biodiversity, and poverty reduction and sustainable consumption. It also requires participatory teaching and learning methods that motivate and empower learners to change their behaviours and take action for sustainable development. ESD consequently promotes competencies like critical thinking, imagining future scenarios and making decisions in a collaborative way.
The aspiration of sustainable development requires us to resolve common problems and tensions and to recognize new horizons. Economic growth and the creation of wealth have reduced global poverty rates, but vulnerability, inequality, exclusion and violence have increased within and across societies throughout the world. Unsustainable patterns of economic production and consumption contribute to global warming, environmental degradation and an upsurge in natural disasters. Moreover, while international human rights frameworks have been strengthened over the past several decades, the implementation and protection of these norms remain a challenge. For example, despite the progressive empowerment of women through greater access to education, they continue to face discrimination in public life and in employment. Violence against women and children, particularly girls, continues to undermine their rights. Again, while technological development contributes to greater interconnectedness and offers new avenues for exchange, cooperation and solidarity, we also see an increase in cultural and religious intolerance, identity-based political mobilization and conflict.
Education must find ways of responding to such challenges, taking into account multiple worldviews and alternative knowledge systems, as well as new frontiers in science and technology such as the advances in neurosciences and the developments in digital technology. Rethinking the purpose of education and the organization of learning has never been more urgent.
Groundwork has been laid for sustainability education worldwide. Recent changes in service learning, a focus on literacies and skills, standards that support interdisciplinary thinking, and the role of systems thinking have all increased the visibility of the movement. Various approaches to ESD encourage people to understand the complexities of, and synergies between, the issues threatening planetary sustainability and understand and assess their own values and those of the society in which they live in the context of sustainability. ESD seeks to engage people in negotiating a sustainable future, making decisions and acting on them. While it is generally agreed on that sustainability education must be customized for individual learners, according to Tilbury and Wortman, the following skills are essential to ESD:
- Envisioning – being able to imagine a better future. The premise is that if we know where we want to go, we will be better able to work out how to get there.
- Critical thinking and reflection – learning to question our current belief systems and to recognize the assumptions underlying our knowledge, perspective and opinions. Critical thinking skills help people learn to examine economic, environmental, social and cultural structures in the context of sustainable development.
- Systemic thinking – acknowledging complexities and looking for links and synergies when trying to find solutions to problems.
- Building partnerships – promoting dialogue and negotiation, learning to work together.
- Participation in decision-making – empowering people.
United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD)
In recognition of the importance of ESD, the United Nations General Assembly declared 2005–2014 the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD). UNESCO leads the Decade and has developed an International Implementation Scheme for the Decade. The goals of the decade are to provide an opportunity for refining and promoting the vision of, and transition to, sustainable development – through all forms of education, public awareness and training; and to give an enhanced profile to the important role of education and learning in sustainable development. Education for sustainability is the practice of learning how to achieve global and local sustainable communities.
The objectives of the DESD are to:
- facilitate networking linkages, exchange and interaction among stakeholders in ESD;
- foster increased quality of teaching and learning in ESD;
- help countries make progress towards and attain the Millennium Development Goals through ESD efforts;
- provide countries with new opportunities to incorporate ESD into education reform efforts.
The end of the Decade was marked by the UNESCO World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). Made during the conference was the 2014 Aichi-Nagoya Declaration on Education for Sustainable Development, which invites governments ‘to reinforce the integration of ESD into education, training, and sustainable development policies.’ Where UNESCO serves as the lead agency to integrate the principles of sustainable development into all aspects of education to address the economic, social, cultural and environmental problems of the 21st century.
a-The United Nations Program on Education for Sustainable Development aims to 1- cultivate in every human being the knowledge and skills necessary to reach more sustainable future. 2– Include any child in the world to the educational edifice and provide access to school. 3- Improve the quality of education. 4- Promote the concept of global citizenship. In the future UNESCO will support its Education for All (EFA) plan and will continue to support its education line with the cooperation of other partner organizations such as UNICEF, the World Bank, the OECD,education international and NGOs.
b-UNESCO's role in education for sustainable development. 1-UNESCO Prize "Education for Sustainable Development". UNESCO invited governments and non-governmental organizations with official partnerships with UNESCO to nominate 3 individuals, institutions or organizations working in the field of education for sustainable development In order to be part of the UNESCO award, provided that it participates in one or more of the five areas of work of the program of education for sustainable development.Where the value of the prize $150000 is divided among 3 winners. UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova awarded the UNESCO / Japan Prize for Education for Sustainable Development to SERES from Guatemala and El Salvador, JAYAGIRL from Indonesia and ROOTABILITY from Germany at a ceremony held at UNESCO headquarters in Paris. This award is the first to be presented since its inception in the field of education for sustainable development. This award is being funded by the Government of Japan.
UNESCO and climate change education for sustainable development
Education is a key component of the global response to climate change in relation to UNESCO and its partners in the United Nations. Article 6 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change states that "States should facilitate education programs for awareness on climate change".
Education in climate change for sustainable development aims to improve understanding of the key concepts of sustainability and the blood of these four directions:
- 1– Provide basic education because drought, floods, high temperatures and others affect the rates of :attendance of students in basic education.
- 2– Redirecting education towards critical thinking that reaches local and global solutions to climate change such as ozone hole.
- 3– increase educational awareness in order to rationalize energy consumption.
UNESCO and the United Nations Convention on the Use of Climate Change Education rely not only on schools but also on online courses and More than 14 million students and 2.1 million teachers in 58 countries have been involved in such education.
On the other hand, NGOs as a partner of the government contribute to sustainable development as a real contribution, and have succeeded in building development awareness, stability and employment through a real and effective participation in the development process. It also has a role in finding a balance between the ecosystem and the economy to conserve natural resources. Organizations are the right arm of governments in the process of sustainable development.
Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development (GAP on ESD)
The UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development took place from 2005 to 2014, with the goal of emphasizing education in all its forms (formal, non-formal and informal) as an indispensable element for achieving sustainable development. In November 2014, as the official follow-up to the DESD, UNESCO launched the Global Action Programme (GAP) for ESD with the overall objective to scale up action on ESD worldwide. Two basic and very important objectives of GAP on ESD are:
- Reorienting education and learning so that everyone has the opportunity to acquire the values, skills and knowledge that empower them to contribute to sustainable development; and
- Enhancing the role of education and learning in all relevant agendas, programmes and activities that promote sustainable development.
The GAP focuses on generating and scaling-up action in five Priority Action Areas: 1. Advancing policy; 2. Transforming learning and training environments; 3. Building capacities of educators and trainers; 4. Empowering and mobilizing youth; 5. Accelerating sustainable solutions at local level. Due to its strong linkages with sustainable development, the GAP on ESD provides an excellent framework for understanding the types of education, training and public awareness initiatives conducive to enabling people of all ages to understand and implement solutions for solving the complex problems presented by climate change.
UNESCO’s work on Climate Change Education (CCE) within the framework of its GAP on ESD aims to make education a more central and visible part of the international response to climate change; to support countries to integrate CCE into their education and training systems; and to support countries in achieving a smooth transition to green economies and resilient societies through education and training.
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
See main article: Sustainable Development Goals
ESD is explicitly recognized in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of Target 4.7 of the SDG on education, together with Global Citizenship Education (GCED), which UNESCO promotes as a complementary approach. Target 4.7 of the SDGs states:
By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others,In August 2015, 193 countries agreed on the following 17 goals: 
No to poverty. End poverty in all its forms everywhere. Not for hunger. Ending hunger, achieving food security, improving nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture. good health. Ensure healthy living and promote well-being for all ages. Quality education. Ensure universal and equal quality education and enhance lifelong learning opportunities for all. Gender equality Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. Clean and healthy water. Ensure abundance and sustainable water and health management for all. Renewable and affordable energy. Ensure affordable, reliable and sustainable energy access for all. Good jobs and economy economics. Promote sustainable, comprehensive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all. Innovative and good infrastructure. Build a flexible infrastructure and promote comprehensive, sustainable manufacturing and innovation promotion. Reduce inequality. Reducing inequality within States and between States and each other. Cities and sustainable communities. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, secure, flexible and sustainable. Responsible use of resources. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. Climate move. Action to combat climate change and its impacts. Sustainable oceans. Sustainable and sustainable use of oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. Sustainable use of land. Protect, restore and promote the sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and restore land degradation and halt loss of biodiversity. Peace and justice. Promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, providing access to justice for all and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
At the same time, it is important to emphasize ESD’s crucial importance for all the other 16 SDGs. With its overall aim to develop cross-cutting sustainability competencies in learners, ESD is an essential contribution to all efforts to achieve the SDGs, enabling individuals to contribute to sustainable development by promoting societal, economic and political change as well as by transforming their own behaviour. ESD can produce specific cognitive, socio-emotional and behavioural learning outcomes that enable individuals to deal with the particular challenges of each SDG, thus facilitating its achievement. In short, ESD enables all individuals to contribute to achieving the SDGs by equipping them with the knowledge and competencies they need, not only to understand what the SDGs are about, but to engage as informed citizens in bringing about the necessary transformation.
U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development
The U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development (USPESD) consists of individuals, organizations and institutions in the United States dedicated to education for sustainable development (ESD). It acts as a convener, catalyst, and communicator working across all sectors of American society.
The U.S. Partnership was conceived at a November 2003 "Open Space" gathering held in Washington, DC that included almost 100 participants from a diverse range of sectors including K-12 and higher education, science and research organizations, conservation and environmental NGOs, faith communities, living institutions, youth advocacy organizations, government agencies and others. Convened by the National Council on Science and the Environment and University Leaders for a Sustainable Future, the group met to respond to the call by the UN General Assembly for a Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005 through 2014) and to consider specifically:
- How the Decade could be leveraged to advance education for sustainable development (ESD) in the United States;
- What were the opportunities for collaboration within and across sectors; and
- How could widespread engagement in the Decade by U.S. organizations be facilitated.
A subsequent strategic planning retreat on the campus of Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania gave shape to the emerging Partnership. Hosted by the International Center for Leadership Results and facilitated by Group Jazz, participants agreed upon the Partnership's Vision – "sustainable development integrated into education and learning in the United States;" and Mission – to "leverage the UN Decade to foster education for sustainable development in the United States". They also conceived of an operating structure for the Partnership, including Action Teams (Marketing, Outreach, Funding, ICT, Youth etc.) and Sector Teams (K-12, Higher Education, Faith Communities, Business, and Communities.), whose volunteer leadership would comprise an Executive Team. An "Interim Steward" would provide ongoing facilitation and leadership.
Participants decided that the Partnership would not design or implement programs of its own. Rather, it would serve as a clearing house – helping to connect, highlight, and foster collaboration among partners – and serving as a catalyst to convene groups and build community to support existing and emerging initiatives.
The Partnership supports its vision and mission through periodic conference calls, in-person meetings and events, and its website. Action and Sector Teams remain key operational components of the Partnership, carrying out a range of activities in support of its mission and vision. Action Teams are responsible for planning and carrying out joint activities that support the entire partnership (e.g. Funding, ICT, Marketing). Sector Teams focus on the needs of their own sector (e.g. Higher Ed., K-12, Faith Communities). The Sector Teams have compiled ESD tools and resources and worked together to advance ESD through initiatives held "in collaboration with the U.S. Partnership". The Disciplinary Associations Network for Sustainability and the Higher Education Associations Sustainability Consortium are networks of national higher education associations integrating information about our urgent sustainability challenges and solutions into education. The Decade and the U.S. Partnership provide international and national context for such efforts, helping to promote and strengthen education for sustainable development in the United States.Education and sustainable development are two sides of a single coin. Their human goal is to build human beings and develop their capacities to achieve sustainable development in an efficient and equitable manner in which life choices are available to people. Therefore, education is the heart of development and its solidity and that the success of development in any society depends very much on the success of the educational system in this society. Education is therefore the key to progress, the instrument of renaissance and the source of strength in societies.Therefore, there is a close relationship between education and sustainable development so that development can not achieve any step unless qualified manpower is available and therefore the process of education is the basis of the process of sustainable development. Hence, the learning process is closely related to sustainable development, namely, investment in human beings and human beings. This has led to a radical shift in educational development thinking, which focuses on the development of human capacities and the importance of education as the focus of real development and human capacity development. Where Chinese wisdom says: If you want to invest for one year and the wheat flour and if you want to invest for ten years tree sap and if you want to invest life and flourish in people. Therefore, education is the one that pushed man to the heart of the development process and the slogan of no development without human beings and therefore the comprehensive sustainable development is no longer dependent on physical capital onlyBut the most important need is the presence of a trained and qualified workforce capable of producing more and more.
Sustainable development in Canada
Sustainable Development Strategy for organizations in Canada is about the Government of Canada finding ways to develop social, financial, and environmental resources that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs in Canada. A Sustainable Development Strategy for the organization needs to be developed that establishes the Sustainable Development goals and objectives set by the Auditor General Act of Canada and provides the written policies and procedures to achieve them. Sustainable Development is based on responsible decision-making, which considers not only the economic benefits of development, but also the short-term and long-term, Canadian environment and environmental impacts.
Sustainability education by private industry
The private sector plays an increasingly important role in environmental and sustainability education. In recent years, as the seriousness of problems such as climate change and hazards to the environment have received more emphasis, corporate environmental responsibility (CER) and sustainability education has been discussed more frequently.
According to recent survey research conducted by GreenBiz in partnership with National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) and PwC, 73% of respondents indicated that their company is educating employees across the organization about its corporate sustainability goals.
Companies are anticipating that the value of Environment & Sustainability education (E&S) knowledge will increase and many are already providing some education to their employees. Nearly half of respondents to the GreenBiz survey whose companies have no current program believe their company will begin educating employees in the next two years.
There are a variety of organizational models for employee environment and sustainability education programs. For example, Cisco employees live and work in a Web 2.0 world and are comfortable collaborating online while Wal-Mart finds a person-to-person approach the most effective.
Some companies aim to raise environmental literacy among their employees so they can contribute to environmental improvements both at work and in the community. Other companies, seek to leverage employees’ knowledge and expertise to transform the company and its products and services to meet a sustainability vision. Organizations use a varied, creative set of methods to reach and influence employees including multi-departmental leadership, employee-led “green” teams, awards, online training, mixed-media communications and performance incentives Several companies also with external partners including non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to create successful E&S education programs.
Through its Business Sustainability Educational Roundtable, NEEF engaged leading companies, including Kimberly-Clark, Johnson & Johnson, Intel and others, to share and develop best practices on employee engagement http://126.96.36.199/business/member_resources.htm. A number of other reports have been published by the NEEF detailing the benefits of sustainability education in corporations and provide some examples and case studies of how corporations embed sustainability education into their operations.
The following individuals are associated with the sustainability education movement:
- Betsy Boze of The College of The Bahamas
- Jaimie Cloud
- Victoria Waters, Green Education Foundation (GEF)
- Gifford Pinchot III of Bainbridge Graduate Institute
- Karl-Henrik Robert of Blekinge Institute of Technology
- Goran Broman of Blekinge Institute of Technology
- Debra Rowe, US Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development, Higher Education Associations Sustainability Consortium and the Disciplinary Associations Network for Sustainability
- Sara Bourque of Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology in Ottawa, ON, Canada – Sustainability Educator and Consultant
Professional organizations often produce their own standards and best practices lists. The North American Association for Environmental Education has produced a detailed "Guidelines for Excellence" in educational programming. Some educational institutions that focus on ESD include:
- Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education
- London South Bank University, with a Masters program in Education for Sustainability
- Cloud Institute for Sustainability Education
- Ramapo College
- St Francis Xavier College (Canberra)
- Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report
- Prescott College, with a PhD program in Sustainability Education
- Ithaca College
- Göncöl Foundation
- Hermit Park State School
- Centre for Sustainability
- Creative Change Educational Solutions
- Learning for a Sustainable Future
- Marlboro College Graduate School
- Maharishi University of Management
- Green Education Foundation
- Centre for Alternative Technology's Education Department
- Portland State University's Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning
- Sustainability Department and multi-disciplinary unit for Sustainable Development
- University of Ottawa Institute of the Environment
- Tokyo Global Engineering Corporation
- Algonquin College of Applied Arts and Technology
- Baltic University Programme, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
- Blekinge Institute of Technology Karlskrona, Sweden
- Centre for Environment Education, Ahmedabad, India
- International – Curricula Educators Association ICEA. Cairo, Egypt.
- Global Action Plan (GAP) International
- SWEDESD, the Swedish International Centre of Education for Sustainable Development, Visby
- The Learning Teacher Network
- The NOW! Organization
- Moncton High School runs an ESD program in conjunction with Prof. Michael Fox from Mount Allison University
- CCLP Worldwide, an international NGO having Special Consultative status with United Nations ECOSOC is involved with campaign of Education Charter International which supports the aims of ESD Education Charter International.
Awards for education programs aimed at promoting sustainability programs such as EfS
The Zayed Future Energy Prize, was proud to announce the launch of the new "Global High School Prize" category in 2012. High Schools from around the world will be requested to submit a business case for how they plan on utilizing the prize for the purpose of raising awareness on the importance of sustainability and improving the school’s environmental footprint. The Global High School Prize is also a UAE commitment to the UN Secretary General’s Year of Sustainable Energy for All, which was launched from Abu Dhabi on January 16, 2012.
UNESCO Prize "Education for Sustainable Development"
UNESCO invited governments and non-governmental organizations with official partnerships with UNESCO to nominate 3 individuals, institutions or organizations working in the field of education for sustainable development In order to be part of the UNESCO award, provided that it participates in one or more of the five areas of work of the program of education for sustainable development.Where the value of the prize $150000 is divided among 3 winners. UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova awarded the UNESCO / Japan Prize for Education for Sustainable Development to SERES from Guatemala and El Salvador, JAYAGIRL from Indonesia and ROOTABILITY from Germany at a ceremony held at UNESCO headquarters in Paris. This award is the first to be presented since its inception in the field of education for sustainable development. This award is being funded by the Government of Japan.
The Walmart corporation offers a program for employees focused on sustainability education that includes the skill sets of EfS.
Sustainable development and education in Uganda
From a political point of view you can say that the idea of sustainability comes from two different trends developed after the Second World War, which can be related to when colonial powers ended their occupation. Within the first trend, it was noticed that the former colonies suffered from social and economical problems like poverty and lack of food. The United Nations therefore arranged several conferences where solutions to these problems were outlined. Several international organs were established, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group (WBG). The second trend stars out from the alarming reports that began to appear during the 1960s, which warned for humans’ way of using nature resources. The resources would come to an end because of the future economical growth and increase in population. A first attempt to discuss these trends could be seen during the United nations Conference on the Environment in Stockholm 1972. As a result, United Nations development Program (UNDP) was founded.
The first conference concerning environmental education (EE) was held in Tbilisi in 1977 and it resulted in the Tbilisi declaration. The document focuses on EE and maintains among others that it should be interdisciplinary, be a lifelong process and develop critical thinking and problem – solving skills. The declaration has had a large effect on curriculums, for example in the Uganda strategy to implementing education for sustainable development The term SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT got an international breakthrough in 1987 with the Bruntland Commissions final report. Our Common Future. The definition of sustainable development was stated in this report and it is still ubiquitous.“Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” Sustainable development is about a global responsibility and solidarity between generations, between women and men and between different cultures and countries. It is about safeguarding and efficient use of existing nature resources. Investment in management of human, social and physiological resources is also crucial parts of sustainable development. Democratic values permeate the society and the citizens feel that they can influence the development, and that they have the will of taking that responsibility for doing so.
The principles underlying sustainable can be separated into a social, economic, and ecological dimension. The economic growth is used to be seen as a requirement for development. No country can achieve a sustainable economic growth if the environment is worsened, if the prosperity is not fairly distributed and if growth of the human resources has not taken place. Therefore, the economical dimension means that economical growth shall carry on with: first, respect taken to the environment, second, growth of the people’s health and education and third, a fair distribution of prosperity. The social dimension points out the importance resources, power and influence are fairly distributed and that people can feel security and can participate. The social dimension is therefore a requirement for economic growth. The environment dimension means that considerations are taken for the social and economical development. These three dimensions are integrated with each other as they are interdependent and mutually reinforcing. The implication of this is that sustainable development to a large extent is about politics In 1992 a UN conference, also known as Earth Summit, was held in Rio de Janeiro. The most famous agreement from that meeting is the Agenda 21, a plan of action for sustainable development. Two major differences from earlier conferences were:
- (a) the large number of participating voluntary organizations and
- (b) the emphasis of the plan of action of the regional, national and local cooperation to reach a sustainable development. Chapter 36 in Agenda 21 brings up educational issues and it emphasizes the importance of orienting the education to achieve sustainable development.
Education is critical for promoting sustainable development and improving the capacity of the people to address environment and development issues. Both formal and non-formal education are indispensable to changing people’s attitudes so that they have the capacity to assess and address their sustainable development concerns. It is also critical for achieving environmental and ethical awareness, values and attitudes, skills and behavior consistent with sustainable development and for effective public participation in decision making. In the year 2000 the United Nations Millennium Declaration was adopted, which emphasizes that a global development demands a comprehensive view. The declaration formed the basis of time –bound and measurable goals for development. It contained eight goals that should promote a global development. Among them were goals for reduction of poverty, reduction of infant mortality, reduction of the HIV/AIDS, malaria spreading and a sustainable development until 2015.
Education for Sustainable Development in Germany
Within the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development the field of ESD in Germany has expanded a lot. There are broad school-networks and strong relationships between schools and out-of-school-education. Nevertheless, estimations say that the concept only has reached about 10% of the schools and many individual teachers all over the country. ESD and Global Education – which in the past were two different concepts – now work under the same headline. Global Education (in Germany "Global Learning") is a special entry to ESD which emphasises the relationships between north and south in a globalized world and discusses injustices between the different parts of the world, partly with reference to the postcolonial discussion. The German education ministry has reached out a “Curriculum Framework Education for Sustainable Development” which has to develop more activities in the school sector.
A climate-friendly school is a school that uses education for sustainable development (ESD) to promote a culture of sustainability in which students, staff and families hold shared values and beliefs about the importance of taking action for a more sustainable society. Taking care of the environment and contributing to reducing climate change is an integral part of this. Climate action means different things to different schools. Some schools see climate action as key to “doing their part” to take care of the planet. For other schools, it is about addressing issues directly affecting them.
The connection of ESD and TVET
TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) is education and training which provides knowledge and skills for employment. TVET is recognised to be a crucial vehicle for social equity, inclusion and sustainabile development.
TVET systems are progressively expected to provide education for sustainability as part of their core curricula. TVET prepares people for work in a range of sectors, e.g construction, waste management and agriculture, industries that consume enormous amounts of energy, raw materials and water. Sustainability requires that those working in these sectors have the requisite technical knowledge to make these industries more sustainable.
TVET systems often have a regional or international variations along with language skills needed for labour mobility. TVET systems are able to provide education for sustainable development and global citizenship, and for meeting the demand for an integrated approach to skill types and diverse fields of study.
The connection of ESD and Global Citizenship Education (GCED)
GCED and ESD pursue the same vision: It is all about empowering learners of all ages to become proactive contributors to a more just, peaceful, tolerant, inclusive and sustainable world. Both GCED and ESD:
- focus not only on the content and outcome of what is learned, but also on the process of how it is learned and in what type of environment it is learned.
- emphasize action, change and transformation.
- place importance on acquiring values and attitudes relevant to addressing global challenges.
- foster skills for collaboration, communication and critical thinking.
Both GCED and ESD help learners understand the interconnected world in which they live and the complexities of the global challenges faced. GCED and ESD help learners to develop their knowledge, skills, attitudes and values so that they can address these challenges responsibly and effectively now and in the future.
The connection of ESD and Climate Change Education (CCE)
Climate Change Education (CCE) is grounded in the holistic approach of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) which incorporates key sustainable development issues such as climate change, disaster risk reduction and others into education, in a way that addresses the interdependence of environmental sustainability, economic viability and social justice. It promotes participatory teaching and learning methods that motivate and empower learners to change their behaviour and take action for sustainable development.
Integrating ESD in curricula and textbooks
ESD concerns the core of teaching and learning and should not be considered as an add-on to the existing curriculum. Mainstreaming ESD requires integrating sustainability topics into the curricula, but also sustainability-related intended learning outcomes.
“Curricula need to ensure that all children and young people learn not just foundation skills, but also transferable skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, advocacy and con ict resolution, to help them become responsible global citizens” (UNESCO, 2014c: 36). From the development of sustainability curricula it is expected to “improve the capacity of our education systems to prepare people to pursue sustainable development."
Reviews of official curriculum documents show that “many countries now include sustainability and/ or environmental themes as one of the general goals of education”. In primary and secondary education most progress has been made in curriculum development towards ESD. “Close to 40% of Member States indicate that their greatest achievement over the DESD has been the integration of ESD into formal curricula, with another fth describing speci c school projects as being their most important contributions to ESD”.
Mauritius – National Curriculum Framework
The Maurice Ile Durable policy was introduced in 2008 with the objective of making Mauritius a world model of sustainable development by 2020. Education is one of its five pillars, with a multi-stakeholder working group put in place to integrate ESD into all levels of education. The goal is to reorient the education system towards sustainability, build capacity at all levels and strengthen awareness of key issues. As Mauritius reports, ESD is now ‘part of the National Curriculum Framework and because of the Maurice Ile Durable societal project, ESD is being addressed by many formal and nonformal institutions/organizations’.
Togo – Quality Education for a Sustainable Future
In Togo, the educational policy framework (Lakalaka) is grounded in national culture and includes a new, ESD-oriented curriculum entitled Quality Education for a Sustainable Future.
Finland – Reforming the national core curricula for pre-school and basic education
Finland is reforming the national core curricula for pre-school and basic education to support and promote sustainable development and well-being following the value basis of education, where the necessity of a sustainable way of living and eco-social understanding is emphasized. The aim is to support all students in developing the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes that promote their ability to understand the importance of a sustainable future.
Manitoba, Canada – Profile of successful leadership
In Manitoba, ESD is a priority action area of the government and has been embedded in the overall purpose of primary and secondary education. It is now government policy ‘to ensure that all Manitoba’s children and youth have access to an array of educational opportunities such that every learner experiences success through relevant, engaging and high quality education that prepares them for lifelong learning and citizenship in a democratic, socially just and sustainable society’. This statement is included in the mission of the provincial Ministry of Education and Advanced Learning. In response to this policy commitment, ESD has been integrated into the curriculum from kindergarten up to 12th grade with specific learning outcomes identified in science, social studies, health and physical education. Building the capacity of educators and school leaders, as well as dedicated funding to ensure the development of sustainability practices, principles, programmes and partnerships, helps schools to embed sustainability into their classrooms, operations and management.
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