Working Group discussing SDG 4 “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”
Workshop 4.1 ESD for Transforming Formal Education (School Systems)
The Sustainable Development Goal 4 is focused on ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all. More specifically the goal 4.1 aims to “by 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes”. To justify Goal 4.1, it is important to discuss the dimensions of quality education and ways to implement it with Whole Institution Approach as one of the important approach. Pedagogy and Curriculum are the means through which learnings of DESD can be brought into practice. Learning to live sustainably is the key component of goal 4.7 wherein the formal education systems has the prominent role.
Expanding access to school education at primary level has been one of the major success stories of MDGs. The potential of transforming lives through education along with the role it plays as a main driver of development is well understood and the global leaders have committed their support with a sense of urgency to a single, renewed education agenda that is holistic, ambitious and aspirational, leaving no one behind. There is renewed focus on access, equity and inclusion, quality and learning outcomes, within a lifelong learning approach.
There is now a commitment that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes. The intent shown is very motivating but at the same time there is an understanding of challenges for quality education and improving learning outcomes with recognition that significant numbers of those entering formal education for the first time will no longer reap the expected benefits of educational qualifications: employment and the promise of a better future.
The Decade of Education for Sustainable Development has a lot to share and support the school education systems to achieve the SDG goals. ESD has demonstrated potential to improve competencies such as critical and systemic thinking, analytical problem-solving, creativity, working collaboratively and making decisions in the face of uncertainty, digital literacy and understanding of the interconnectedness of global challenges and responsibilities emanating from such awareness for addressing local contextual challenges of the present and the future.
Aim of the workshop:
The workshop will shared ESD experiences to reflect and discussed the ways to prepare formal education systems to prepare the society to face challenges of the world.
- Share the learnings from ESD in Formal Education System and evolve to achieve the ambitious targets of SDG
- Discuss whole-institution approach as a key strategy to scale-up ESD
- Understand the pedagogy, curriculum for the learnings that are required to live on a planet that is under pressure and ways of organizing and discuss the challenges.
- Understand the workable strategies for strengthening the curriculum, textbooks, quality of teaching–learning processes, assessment, ICT etc. for better outcomes
- Discuss the ways of engaging parents and other stakeholders to see the role of education beyond employment.
- Identified the dimensions of quality in formal education systems for achieving SDG.
- Shared best practices of whole institution approach.
- Pedagogy for developing competencies.
- Identified needs for research, measurement and evaluation.
Early Childhood Development, Care and Pre-primary Education: Cornerstone for achieving SDGs
Child care and early education form the building blocks of early childhood development. A critical step to achieving SDGs is giving all children access to early childhood development, care and pre-primary education. Care and Education require strategies that are holistic and give significance to welfare, protection, safety, nutrition, hygiene, access as well as preschool experience. This calls for putting a range of enabling factors in place. Primarily, it has to reach out to every child, its family and the community.
“Empirical evidence points to the value of providing pre-school experience to children not only for improving their readiness for schooling but also as part of meeting their basic growth and development needs. Providing early childhood care and education is the first goal of the Dakar Framework for Action.” It is this vision that requires every child is provided with interaction, communication and stimulation. Experiences from ESD tell us that educational initiatives content related to environment, socio-cultural and economic questions can indeed foster change.
The Working Group Sessions deliberated upon these key aspects:
- The integration of early childhood care and early education to achieve the goal 4.2 of SDG#4.
- Appropriate and necessary coordination among the many sectors working for early childhood development, care and pre-primary education.
- Examining the content and pedagogy of Early Education from ESD experiences.
- Learning about contexts that determine regional/country level initiatives.
- Resource allocation for child care and early education.
- Capacity building for child care and early education.
CEE Focal Point: Rajeswari Namagiri and Sukhprit Kaur
Higher Education and TVET: Addressing pedagogy, curriculum, research and spaces of learning in Higher Education and Vocational Training
The Sustainable Development Goal 4 is focused on ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all. More specifically the goal 4.3 aims to “by 2030, ensure equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university’. Goal 4.4 aims to “by 2030, substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship”. It is important here to discuss the relevance of education, pedagogy and curriculum in the context of sustainability. The Tertiary and Higher Education institutions have to play the critical role of reinventing, innovating and developing content, teaching and research into making education relevant to achieving sustainability goals. Education is not limited to Goal 4 but its relevance to achieving SDGs in the broadest sense needs to be the way Higher and Tertiary Education addresses itself to achieving SDGs.
Global networks and partnerships play an important part in providing the impetus and bringing together institutions working in the area of Higher Education. Some of these such as the Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI), created as a partnership of UN entities (UNESCO, UN-DESA, UNEP, Global Compact, and UNU) in the run-up to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) are aimed at galavanizing commitments from higher education institutions to teach and encourage research on sustainable development, greening campuses and support local sustainability efforts. (1)
The Regional Centre of Expertise (RCE) also plays a central role in the transfer of global technologies, knowledge, and experiences at the local level through their programmes and activities and majorly coordinated from universities. Higher education is thus involved in enhancing collaborative partnerships for sustainable development and is taking a lead role in research and development as well.
Another very important initiative, the Global Universities Partnership on Environment and Sustainability (GUPES), a flagship programme of UNEP’s Environmental Education and Training Unit (EETU), aims to promote the integration of environment and sustainability concerns into teaching, research, community engagement, the management of universities including greening of university infrastructure/facilities/operations, as well as to enhance student engagement and participation in sustainability activities both within and beyond universities.
Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) focused on provision of relevant skills to youth for work, is designed to be inclusive and support lifelong learning. It has the scope for supporting transition of economies and societies to become low-carbon and sustainable. The tertiary education institutions and institutions engaged in TVET can together create an enabling atmosphere for societies to transform themselves into sustainable societies.
Aim of the workshop:
The workshop aimed at building on the experience of the tertiary and higher education institutions and the TVET institutions in developing pedagogy, curriculum and research for sustainability, to discuss the way forward for achieving SDGs, and identify areas for collaboration and further research in the way these institutions can promote sustainable development. It identified competencies required for achieving these education goals.
a. To share and learn from examples of good practices of Higher education institutions which have innovated in terms of pedagogy, methodology, curriculum for integrating sustainability concerns
b. To discuss the role of knowledge creation by Higher education institutions in achieving SDGs
c. To discuss the role of HE and TVET in fulfilling the demand for quality skilled human resource
d. To discuss strategies to strengthen the institutions to be able to fulfil the need for such quality skilled human resource.
e. To discuss the roles and the way networks and partnerships such as the HESI, GUPES, RCE, TVET and other local and regional networks can collaborate to support achieving SDGs
a. Recommendations to the governments for strengthening HE institutions and vocational education institutions within their countries.
b. Identifying of examples that can be scaled up within and across countries
c. Collaboration and partnerships to support sustainability teaching and learning
CEE Focal point: Madhavi Joshi, Ketki Gadre, Vatsalya Shukla
Today, we have the largest generation of young people the world has ever known. One third of them live in countries that have suffered a violent conflict, 75 million are unemployed, and political representation is systematically much older, in all regions of the world, than the society it represents. In other words, the institutional public space is scarce for young men and women; if war was a tragedy for all, peace is difficult for them and jobs are hard to get and tough to keep. The young generations have made their voices heard loud and clear about the future they want. In the Post-2015 Consultations, they have demanded, more than anything else, education, jobs, honest and responsive governments, and greater and meaningful participation in decision-making. Their views must count.” - Magdy Martínez-Solimán, Director a.i. Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP1
1 UNDP Youth Strategy Report 2014-2017 : Empowered Youth Sustainable Future available onhttp://www.undp.org/content/dam/undp/library/Democratic%20Governance/Youth/UNDP_Youth-Strategy-2014-17_Web.pdf
Rights and Responsibilities are two major aspects of Youth Empowerment. When young men and women understand their rights, they can become empowered to engage in civil society, public service and political processes, at all levels. They need to know the channels through which they may exercise their civil and political rights and contribute to decision-making processes that impact their lives. Channels for engagement include formal political processes such as youth advisory boards at local level, youth parliaments or shadow councils at national level, and engagement with United Nations processes at the global level, for example. Other entry points include volunteerism, access to civil service positions and decision-making processes in the public administration, initiatives for transparency and accountability, promotion of human rights, legal reform, support for youth organizations, policy review and use of media, including social media, to increase access to information and collect and report on relevant data.
While rights empower youth on an individual level and lead to knowledge, learning about their responsibilities and role as equal and responsible global citizens lead to action. Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) plays a major role in informing youth about these responsibilities and inspiring them to take action and have a larger impact towards the sustainability of our planet.
The workshop focussed on discussing the rights and responsibilities of youth as global citizens from the context of ESD and what role an empowered youth can play in achieving SDG’s. The Global discussions of youth forums like the United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth (UNMGCY) or other international youth groups working on this and the opinions of young leaders from these forums on SDG’s during international consultations were shared with the participants to give them a brief insight into the discussions on Sustainable Development leading up to the international conference, to help them understand the current global scenario, and come up with their own interventions and suggestions to feed into and further enrich the process.
Emphasis was also on Sustainable Livelihoods, as per Target 4.4 of the Sustainable Development Goals, which is to substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship by 2030. By giving importance to discussion on livelihood generation and promoting Entrepreneurship among youth, the aim was to build capacity of youth and further prepare them to take up leadership roles in terms of Sustainable Development and ESD globally.
As the world today struggles to transform itself into a sustainable society, the challenges of teacher education, such as the ones listed above, become even more complex. The UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014) has already established the role of education as a key driver for realizing sustainable development, consequently, the education systems, and therefore the teachers, the world over, have been entrusted with the responsibility of preparing global citizens.
This has been reiterated in the UN Sustainable Development Goals as well, with Goal 4 focuses on Formal Education, with 4(c) on Teacher Capacity Building.
With focus on the world agenda on education; on education and communication for sustainable development; and on teacher capacity building for ensuring quality teaching-learning for all; this
Workshop discussed and deliberated upon a variety of innovative cases, experiences, implementation strategies and policy frameworks, from around the world, in meeting major global challenges in teacher education. The Workshop attempted to recommend and put forth innovative and effective implementation strategies and policy frameworks for meeting up key challenges in teacher education that the world faces today.
CEE Focal Point: Shivani Jain and Parthesh Pandya