New Delhi, September: – ‘International Conference on Sustainability Education (ICSE)’ was organized jointly by Mobius Foundation, The Climate Reality Project, India in partnership with UNESCO New Delhi office at the India Habitat center on 9-10th September 2019. The two-day conference explored the ways to address the challenges halting the path of sustainable education.
ICSE 2019 was planned with a view to exploring pathways to address current and emerging sustainability challenges through education by empowering learners with new skills, values, and attitudes that lead to more sustainable societies. This conference was organized as a major sustainability event to bring together thought leaders, practitioners, teachers, educators, policymakers as well as youth from around the globe to share innovative ideas, case studies, practices and policies and came forward with recommendations for incorporating environmental sustainability as a core concept in the school education system.
The conference deliberated upon various facets of sustainability education took a holistic viewpoint in terms of ESD (Education for Sustainable Development), EE (Environmental Education) and Climate Change Education (CCE). Its main focus was on the South Asian region particularly on school education at the primary, middle and secondary levels.
The conference aimed at sharing innovative ideas and understanding on sustainability education within the overall objective of strengthening the role of education in changing attitudes and behavior towards positive action for a better quality of life and environment ultimately leading to the achievement of SDGs and creating a sustainable future for all.
The specific objectives were:
- To share good practices in sustainability education in the school system from across the globe and provide a regional platform for the exchange of experiences and good practices amongst educators, practitioners and policymakers.
- To discuss new and innovative ideas for bringing in the change in the current educational structure and incorporate environmental sustainability as a core concept from the early stage of education systems and strengthen the process through preparation of a model curriculum and associated teaching-learning modules/tools.
- To identify opportunities for partnerships between schools, NGOs, UN agencies, and global, regional and national networks to enhance formal and non-formal education programs on sustainability education.
- To identify immediate and mid-term next steps for the development of a comprehensive sustainability education program in South Asia.
Dr. Ram Boojh (Director Programmes, Former UNESCO, and Environment Programme Specialist) said: “The idea to organize this Conference came from the felt need of reorienting education towards sustainability issues in the context of the global commitment for Agenda 2030 and Sustainable Development Goals.”
Mr Pradip Burman, Chairman, Mobius Foundation said: “ICSE 2019 has been organized with its ultimate goal of developing societies competent in the principles of sustainability and striving to live within the carrying capacity of the planet. ICSE 2019 aims to aid the implementation of education for sustainable development (ESD) which is culturally-relevant, locally appropriate, occurring across national school education system.”
The challenge is how to get there, lots of things have to change, the systems have to change. India should focus on what they can do.” said Mr. Kartikeya Sarabhai, Founder, and Director, Centre for Environment Education (CEE), while he was sharing his experience of Rio.
Dr. Ajay Mathur, Director General, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) said, “In order to have a life which is both high in quality as well useful, sustainability for us has to be a way of life this is important because if we look options in front of us, it is very clear that we should move to the resource efficiency on the one side and recycling the waste that we produce on the other side, choosing these options is about a way of life. I think we all need to believe that together we can make a difference.”
Sustainability education is an untapped resource in addressing challenges related to the environment, climate change and sustainable development. Although there have been various efforts globally in this direction, still educators, as well as policy and decision-makers, have not yet fully utilized the potential of education to address these challenges. Environment education over the years has come up as a distinct discipline and various approaches and methodologies of teaching and learning have evolved at various levels.
However, there is a need to bring out specifics and intricacies of environmental education as an agent of change and transformation in true sense. It is also interesting to note the transition from environment education (EE) to education for sustainable development (ESD) and moving towards more focused climate change education (CCE) which reflects the need for reorienting educational priorities to the newer global challenges of today.
The conference brought together around 500 participants (Internationally and nationally) representing the multi-disciplinary and diverse group of stakeholders including policymakers, teachers and educators, curriculum development experts, representatives of school and education networks, youth, scientists and climate change experts, as well as individuals from the private sector and civil society.
Students were being an integral part of the program and were engaged through various events led by our partners like Climate Reality Project, Centre for Environment Education (CEE) and Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE).
The team was working towards making ICSE 2019 as one of the most exciting and stimulating experience for the participants by including plenaries, technical sessions, keynote speeches, case studies presentations, experience sharing sessions, thematic side events, posters and exhibitions covering diverse elements of sustainability education including environment education (EE), Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), climate change education (CCE) etc. The conference provided the participants with ample opportunities for interactions, discussion and networking with leaders in the field.