After sending introductory letters about our project to a wide range of contacts (that you can find in the Wiki section of the website) and receiving very good feedback (see the map with our partners so far), we are now ready to take things to the next level. We prepared a concrete proposal that will be addressed to Ministries of Education in all our focus countries in order to start a dialogue regarding the main aim of our project: introducing sustainability and sustainable development as a separate subject in public schools.
Below you can find the full text of our proposal. The individual letters for Ministries can also be consulted in the Wiki section.
Taking into account the following arguments:
- Today our planet shows more visible signs of human activity than ever before, which are reflected in various impacts extending from ecosystems to the air, water and soil. Furthermore, there is increasing evidence that the climate change we are witnessing is caused by people;
- For the last twenty years many international events, summits, reports and organizations have repeatedly stated that we have not only the duty, but the opportunity to reduce our growing footprint, by making sustainable choices so that future generations can also thrive;
- To have the reasonable prospect of preserving this planet for future generations, we need to focus our time, effort and resources on educating people – children and youth in particular – on promoting sustainable development, adopting sustainable lifestyles and planning for a sustainable future;
- Despite great efforts to introduce Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in schools, through various nationally and internationally adopted strategies and agreements, the progress has been slow. Current school programmes relating to sustainability and sustainable development tend to be fragmented between various disciplines, with few hours dedicated to the principle issues and only available to some grades. Moreover, the pupils’ understanding of these very important themes often depends on the dedication and preparedness of the teachers, who are usually not specialised in this particular area;
Nektarina Non Profit, along with its partners, considers that a change is necessary to give issues like sustainability, sustainable development, environmental protection and responsibility increased coherence and impact in the public schooling. We therefore propose the following recommendations for your consideration:
- A separate subject addressing all aspects of sustainability / sustainable development (environmental, social and economical), should be introduced in the curricula of public schools, at all grades (kindergarten to high school), with varying complexity appropriate to the age levels;
- Depending on the number of hours that can be legally spent by pupils for education activities at school, this subject can be first included in the curricula as an elective one and aiming to become compulsory as the educational necessities and the popularity of the subject grows;
- The operational objectives, curricula and textbooks for the new subject should be established through the regular procedure undertaken for other subjects, including public debate;
- Training courses for teachers who will be in charge of this subject should be organised in order to assure the quality of the educational process;
- As it is envisioned that the subject will unify all related existing topics, such as ecology, environmental awareness, environmental protection, etc, it should comprise a fairly extensive practical part, including outdoors activities, hands-on environmental projects and other similar activities.
Expected benefits and results:
- An education system that keeps up with today’s realities, providing pupils with a clear, unbiased view of how our planet works and how human actions and choices are likely to influence it;
- An increased engagement of pupils with sustainability issues in a critical and creative manner resulting in greater ‘ownership’ of the issues and a willingness to lead an active, responsible, community-involved life;
- A decrease in environmental problems in the future due to a more responsible, civilised and informed attitude;
- A raise in awareness related to sustainability issues in the society as a whole, stemming from the propagation of values and attitudes taught in school to the communities where pupils live;
- An education system connected to and fully capable of matching European standards and values.
- Until 2015: preparation of all relevant documentation, including curricula, textbooks, training courses for teachers, obtaining all necessary authorisations and approvals
- As of 2015: full introduction of the new subject focused on sustainable development in the curriculum;
- 2020: first results of the new education system are starting to show.
Should you agree to enter a dialogue with Nektarina Non Profit and its partners, we will be happy to provide more details about our project. Furthermore, we are ready to support any activity aimed at introducing the new subject in the curricula, including participating at meetings and work groups, offering our help and expertise, sustaining public debates, etc.
We look forward to hearing from you and we hope that you share our view that this is a matter of vital importance for future generations and one in which the education profession has a unique and critical role to play.
With kindest considerations,
Nektarina Non Profit