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The UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. Towards southern African ‘Guidelines for Participating in the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development ’ . Background and Orientation. Vision of the UN Decade.

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The UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development

Towards southern African ‘Guidelines for Participating in the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development’


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Background

and Orientation


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Vision of the UN Decade

“A world where everyone has the opportunity to benefit from education and learn the values, behaviour and lifestyles required for a sustainable future and for positive societal transformation.”(UNESCO, 2005)


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Objectives of the Decade

1. Give an enhanced profile to the central role of education and learning in the common pursuit of sustainable development

2. Facilitate links and networking, exchange and interaction among stakeholders in ESD;

3. Provide a space and opportunity for refining and promoting the vision of, and transition to sustainable development – through all forms of learning and public awareness.

4. Foster increased quality of teaching and learning in education for sustainable development

5. Develop strategies at every level to strengthen capacity in ESD


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History of the Decade

  • Stockholm Conference on Environment (1972):

    1997: Tbilisi Principles on Environmental Education

  • Rio Earth Summit (1992):Focus on relationship betweenEnvironment and Development

    1992: Chapter 36: Education, training and public awareness – Environmental Education and Education for Sustainability emphasised. UNESCO given the responsibility to define ESD and to encourage national education systems to re-orient towards sustainability.

    1997: Tessaloniki Conference: Education for Sustainable Development on the agenda

  • JHB World Summit on Sustainable Development (2002):Focus on relationship between Environment, Development and Socio-Economic Poverty

    2005:United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005): To foreground the role of education in enabling sustainable development

    All the ‘big organisations’ buy in and endorse the Decade (IUCN, UNEP etc.)

  • Millennium Declaration (2000) and Millennium

    Development Goals (2001):

    To strengthen peace, development and human rights

    • Eradicating extreme poverty and hunger

    • Achieving universal primary education (EFA movement)

    • Promoting gender equality and empowering women

    • Reducing child mortality

    • Combating HIV/AIDs, malaria and other diseases

    • Ensuring environmental sustainability

    • Building global partnerships for development

  • Education for All / UN Decade of Literacy links

The Earth

Charter

Respect and care for the

community of life

Ecological integrity

Social and Economic Justice

Democracy, Non-violence

and Peace

Values agenda foregrounded


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Some debates associated with the UN Decade

  • 1987: Ian Robottom critiques technicism and instrumentalism in environmental education. This links to a broader critique of instrumentalism in education.

  • 1991-1993: John Fien and John Huckle introduce critical theory perspectives into environmental education. These are also incorporated into other areas such as gender education, health education, human rights education, peace education etc.

  • 1992-2002: Bob Jickling / Helen Spork and others critique the ESD discourse for limiting the vision and scope of education – They note that ESD can present an instrumentalist agenda for education. The Thessaloniki Conference is critiqued for ignoring critiques of the way that ESD was being promoted and conceptualised.

  • 2000: IUCN lead a deliberation on the ‘differences’ between EE and ESD. This discourse is critiqued in southern Africa for being oppositional, and for mis-representing environmental education processes that were responding to development issues.

  • 2003: 1st World Environmental Education Congress – Following Global Environmental Education Associations meeting at the WSSD. The Congress foregrounds environmental discourse in ESD, and allows for critical debates

  • 2004: SADC REEP futures research – argues for strengthening the environmental focus within the ESD discourse, strengthening of the social justice agenda and for enabling an open, reflexive agenda for education. The document argues that there is a need for a critical evaluation of the political economy surrounding sustainable development discourse. The document also indicates that globalising discourses such as ESD have the potential to be BOTH a) enabling and b) constraining.

  • 2003: An EEASA Journal dialogue on Earth Charter Education (www.eeasa.org.za) opens debate on how we work with value orientations in education. It recommends open-ended, reflexive approaches and warns against indoctrination of people in the UN Decade of ESD

  • 2005: Ahmedabad Declaration from ESD Conference in India – foregrounds social justice agenda in developing countries, participation and action for social change


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What is the UNESCO DESD Implementation Plan?

  • A document providing orientation to governments, regional groupings, local level initiatives – It creates ‘a space for all’ to participate in the UN Decade of ESD

  • It gives some orientation to education & sustainable development

  • It provides a values framework (based on the Earth Charter)

  • It provides some suggested strategies

  • It provides a suggested framework for global, regional, national and local partnerships

  • It encourages all players (NGO’s, governments, Higher Ed Institutes, business, media etc. ) to ‘get active’ and contribute to ESD

  • Encouraging of participation & partnerships at different levels

  • An open-ended process … to encourage a global movement for change


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The SADC consultation process

  • SADC Secretariat requested ‘Guidelines for participation in the UN Decade for ESD’ – for policy work and for practice

  • Consultations at 4 levels:

    • Individual questionnaires (see www.sadc-reep.org.za)

    • Local level (any group can have a local level consultation)

    • National level (national stakeholder groups)

    • International level (SADC, UNESCO, UNEP consultations)

      Some questions that have guided the process so far:

  • How can the development of the guidelines be achieved through a creative, open-ended and participatory process on a limited budget?

  • How can the guidelines be responsive to the issues, challenges and priorities of the southern African region?

  • How can the guidelines be based in, and be developmental of practice?

  • How can we develop guidelines that will strengthen and extend current good practice?


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Aim of the workshop / consultation

To share local / national experiences that will inform the development of southern African guidelines for participation in the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development


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Session 1:

Contextual challenges


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Session 1: Focus group discussion on contextual challenges

  • What important environmental, social, economic and education policies influence your / your organisation’s educational practice?

    2. What are the key environmental and social issues and risks that you / your organisation are responding to?

    3. What are the major challenges in enabling sustainable development in your context?


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Session 2:

Institutional contexts


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Session 2: Focus group discussion on institutional / sectoral context

  • Describe your institution/sector and your main educational objectives.

  • Describe the kinds of educational programmes or activities that your organisation / sector is engaged with.

  • What lessons have you learned that can inform the educational practice of others in the southern African region?

  • What key considerations should be incorporated into the proposed guidelines? (for policy work, and for ESD practices)

  • What partnerships, networks and multi-disciplinary strategies have you established and applied in your work and why? Explain how these work. (strengths and challenges)


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Session 3:

ESD Practice


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Session 3:Focus group discussion on ESD Practice

Discuss any one or more of the following questions

  • What kind of teaching and learning processes (methods, approaches, interactions etc.) have you found to be most successful? Give examples. Also discuss some of the challenges.

  • How have you fostered participation in educational practice? Give examples and discuss some of the challenges.

  • How have you approached the teaching of values and the strengthening of relationships (e.g. Ubuntu) in educational practice? Give examples of successes and/or challenges.

  • How have you addressed issues of inclusivity (consider learners with special needs, cultural inclusivity etc.) in educational practices. Give examples of successes and/or challenges.

  • How have you incorporated a focus on creativity and critical thinking in educational practice? Give examples of successes and/or challenges.

  • How have you worked with indigenous and local knowledge in educational practice? Give examples of successes and/or challenges


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Session 4:

Supporting and Extending ESD Practice


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Session 4: Supporting and Extending ESD Practice

Discuss any one or more of the following topics. It is recommended that different interest groups discuss different topics. Use the questions provided below to guide discussions in each group.

Categories for interest group discussions:

  • Policy review, development and use

  • Advocacy and vision-building

  • Networking and establishing partnerships

  • Institutional capacity building

  • Professional development (training)

  • Curriculum and programme development work

  • Learning support materials development, access and use.

  • Information communication technologies (ICTs)

  • Research and innovation

  • Monitoring and evaluation

  • Working creatively and sustainably with available resources (e.g. funding, time, people etc.)

    Questions for each interest group discussion:

  • What is taking place in relation to the key interest you are discussing (choose from the list above).

  • What has worked well and why?

  • What lessons have you learned that can inform the educational practice of others in the southern African region?

  • What key considerations should be incorporated into the proposed guidelines? (for policy work, and for ESD practices)


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The way

forward


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The Way Forward

  • Workshop / consultation report to be submitted to the SADC REEP

  • Draft documents available at the end of September / early October

    • Document 1:Guidelines for participating in ESD policy work for the UN Decade on ESD. To inform policy work (a short document for policy making)

    • Document 2:Guidelines for participating in ESD practice during the UN Decade on ESD.To inform practice (a longer document capturing the rich diversity of practice and experience in southern Africa)

  • Printed versions ready by the end of 2005

  • Regular process updates available on

    www.sadc-reep.org.za

    Please encourage more local level consultations (workshop toolkit available on www.sadc-reep.org.za)

    Please make suggestions as to how the Guideline Documents could / should be disseminated


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Thank you!

Thank you for your participation in this workshop, and for sharing your insights and experience with others in the

southern African region.

Together we can unlock and extend the creativity and potential of our region’s people to ensure a better future for all!


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