Day 1: Sustainability Education and the New Normal
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused significant disruption in education, forcing approximately 1.58 billion children and youth to leave their schools. Several new and innovative online, virtual, and distance teaching learning initiatives are being tested as the new normal around the world, each with their own set of benefits and drawbacks. The challenge now is to mitigate as much as possible the negative impact of the pandemic on learning and schooling, and to build on this experience to get back on track to rebuilding the educational system.
The National Education Policy 2020 of India has had a significant impact on the future of education in general, and sustainability education in particular. By providing high-quality education to all, the policy advocates for an education system that contributes to an equitable and vibrant knowledge society. The NEP 2020 is also consistent with Goal 4 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 4), which states unequivocally that equal access to education is the foundation for sustainable development.
The panellists and speakers during the session shared their views on the specific themes of Sustainability Education and the New Normal. The broader themes proposed are:
- How can sustainability education help bring the desired transformation in the education system during a post pandemic phase?
- How can sustainability education with its emphasis on exposure to nature and outdoor hands-on activities be practiced beyond the comfort of homes during Covid-19 or beyond the classrooms in post Covid scenarios?
- Is it possible to bridge the digital divide with respect to internet access and availability of devices? What should be the alternatives that technology can offer for education to the unreached students and regions? How to make the joy of learning possible in the scenario of internet fatigue during the era of virtual learning?
- How can India’s New Education Policy help to promote environment and sustainability education?
Day 2: Sustainability Education and the Youth
Mobius Foundation, Earth Day Network and The Climate Reality Project India joined hands to launch the Youth for Earth and My Future My Voice Campaigns to mark the 50th year of the Earth Day. The campaign was run through January to July 2020. Youth were invited to participate in the campaign and be a ‘Champion for Earth’ and a ‘Change Maker’.
The campaign received overwhelming support from young people across India and South Asia who wanted to do something to create a more sustainable planet. The 90-minute youth-led webinar on “Sustainability Education and the Youth” featured 11 participants from around the world presenting their projects in three minutes each on air, water, energy, waste, and biodiversity.