Education for Sustainable Development – A Challenge for Science Teachers


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A lot of definitions for sustainable development are interpreted in the world. “Sustainable development is the development which satisfies the needs of the present without disrupting the opportunities and the needs of future generations” (NJCED, 1987), while the International Institute for Sustainable Development prefers to see sustainable development (SD) as “enhancing the quality of life of all inhabitants of the planet without increasing the need for natural resources to a level that exceeds the possibilities of the environment”. Sustainable development has become a concept of development which is focused on ecology, economically feasible and socially justifiable. Sustainable development is not just a copied definition, but rather a slow process that is dramatically complex. Sustainable development cannot be planned or realized gradually and rationally or through individual activities. In fact, changes in individual actions are required for sustainable development, but the political task is to find ways to change collective actions. Sustainable development is an ecological, social and economic process which is incorporated in the political processes of studying, research and negotiations. What does education for sustainable development represent? In most of the examples, this idea is confused with ecological education. In fact, the education for sustainable development is education for life or everyday behavior and actions. It implies acquiring knowledge, but it is well known that knowledge without values and opinions is insufficient. It is necessary that everyone acquires procedural knowledge and becomes ready for involvement and action in accordance with their beliefs and principles. Therefore, education for sustainable development should not be just another topic in the curriculum which remains at a level of theory; it should be directed towards acquiring competencies through action. In the process of swift change of the world, the aim is to allow students to participate in the social processes of sustainable development. It is essential to give them the opportunity to develop their competencies which will later reflect in an improved mutual collaboration.

Connection between Education for Sustainable Development and Science 

Science is undoubtedly a key which has understanding and has answers to some of the most burdensome problems of today, like many challenges initiated by the growth of population, anthropological factors and its impact on the eco systems, climate changes and sustainability. How can science education promote sustainable development in the modern society? The question comes as a result of the fact that the concept of sustainable development has deep roots in the local concepts, and because of that it is very difficult to derive universal definitions. The twenty first century is called “the century of Science “because of the significant development of this science and its contribution to understanding the basic processes and components happening in the human kind. Today we are facing “incredible” discoveries in the ultra advanced technology, but on the other hand, the percentage of the human kind facing hunger and poverty is very big. From that point of view, one can rightfully conclude that Science offers opportunities to overcome the challenges like satisfying everyday human needs through its unstoppable achievements and everyday discoveries.

The sustainable development is focused on central dealings with a large number of interrelated global problems such as poverty, inequality, hunger and environmental degradation. There are many ways through which proper economic activity can protect or improve the environment in accordance with the principles of education for sustainable development.  An important segment of the trend to promote the society’s development is education for sustainable development, which represents education used in life, everyday behavior and actions. It includes the acquisition of knowledge with the help from various values and attitudes. Education for sustainable development is not just a subject in the curriculum which is focused on theory only, but it also involves developing certain skills through action. In promoting education for sustainable development the most important share have the Science teachers due to them having a connection between the given educational topics with one of the three segments of sustainable development and its environment. Although the teachers’ previous actions are fairly recognizable they still need to find a way for a more intense involvement in the implementation of education for sustainable development through personal change, cooperation, dialogue, research and exchange of experiences, correlated with other study programs, continuous development and improvement of skills.

Article written by: Natalija Aceska, Scientix Ambassador

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