The following is an excerpt from an article by Ashok Pandey for Financial Express covered the United Nations Transforming Education Summit held in New York from September 16 through September 19, 2022. The forum was a build-up to September 25, the seventh anniversary of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by world leaders in 2015.
Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) encourages changes in knowledge, skills, values, and attitudes to enable a more sustainable and just society. SDGs are premised on five Ps: people, planet, prosperity, peace, and partnership. At the heart of SDGs is the acknowledgment that the planet and its inhabitants are one unit and the recognition that our future depends upon how these five Ps interplay.
Eight of the 17 SDGs revolve around quality education, ending poverty, empowerment of women and girls, security, and inclusion; another eight revolve around sanitation, energy, habitation, lifestyle, and climate, and the last one focuses on ‘working together.’ The UN summit reiterated that treasures of learning encompass learning to learn, learning to do, learning to be, and learning together.
Tony Devine of the Global Peace Foundation upon entering the Transforming Education Summit at the UN was greeted by a large sign: “Only one in three ten-year-olds globally can read and understand a simple story.’” He shared, “This statement underscored the challenges and opportunity for greater cross-sector collaboration to transform education at all levels. Namely the continuous growth and development of educators, greater access to education for all, the development of character, values and transferrable skills and aligning the relevancy of education for the real work of work and society.”
ESD encourages teaching and learning to include poverty reduction, green practices, quality education, climate change, risk reduction, and responsible consumption as core subjects. It also urges interactive, participative, experiential pedagogy and empowering learners to change their behavior and actions to promote SDGs. ESD promotes 21st-century competencies like critical thinking, imagining future scenarios, collaborative decision-making, and problem-solving.