As the world works her way towards development, a number of key factors such as technology and others have proved to be insufficient in achieving this goal. This is where education for sustainable development comes in. This is essential in promoting the much needed knowledge to enlighten the world on what should be done to develop the current and future populations.
Sustainable development cannot be achieved by technological solutions, political regulation or financial instruments alone. We need to change the way we think and act. This requires quality education and learning for sustainable development at all levels and in all social contexts.
Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is about enabling us to constructively and creatively address present and future global challenges and create more sustainable and resilient societies. In a world of 7 billion people, with limited natural resources, individuals and societies have to learn to live together and take responsible actions based on the understanding that actions here and today can have implications for the lives and livelihoods of people in other parts of the world, as well as for future generations.
Empowering learners to live responsible lives and to address complex global challenges means that education has to promote competencies like critical thinking, imagining future scenarios and making decisions in a collaborative way. This calls for new approaches to learning, the development of vibrant green economies and societies, and the emergence of a “global citizenship”.
Human ability to learn and change is a direct determinant of the global future. This is why there is a need for education to educate today’s world population to call in to action the stakeholders who can play a vital part towards achieving better sustainable development for the good of the future generations.
The quality of the human and biospheric future depends on our collective capacity and ability to learn and change.
Sustainable development is not itself sustainable (that is, lasting and secured), unless relevant learning among all stakeholders is central to the process.
While sustainable development can be promoted through policy instruments, these tend to be effective for only as long as they are applied.
Education can enhance the effectiveness of each of these instruments through developing informed engagement, agency and empowerment among all affected stakeholders. Further, education can build lasting change – that is, sustainable change, because it is owned by the learner and reaches hearts and minds.
As much as education for sustainable development is a aimed to achieve a global goal, it is not guaranteed that the system will be as easily successful as it should be. So far, the reception and incorporation of this education in different educational systems has proved that this is definitely not going to be a cake walk with all these challenges.
Increasing Awareness: ESD is Essential
In large part, perceiving a need brings about a corresponding change in educational systems. Unfortunately, the need to achieve sustainable development is not perceived today as sufficiently important to spark a large response in the educational community. If leaders at all levels of governance are to make progress, the recognition and active involvement of the education sector is imperative.
Structuring and Placing ESD in the Curriculum
n cases where schools carry total responsibility for ESD, complete curricular reorientation of education at all levels will probably be necessary. In communities where informal, nonformal, and formal education unites to create an integrated ESD program for citizens of all ages, a less intense approach in the formal education system might be effective. As programs are developed and implemented, problems will occur. Flaws and questionable practices will need to be addressed as ESD continues to develop and mature.
Facing the Complexity of Sustainable Development Concept
Rather than being clear, simple, and unambiguous, the concepts involved in ESD are complex. Their complexity stems from the intricate and complicated interactions of natural and human systems. The challenge to educators is to derive messages that illustrate such complexity, without overwhelming or confusing the learner.
Sourced from: http://www.esdtoolkit.org/discussion/challenges.htm