Adopted by the UN General Assembly on 25 September 2015, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the United Nations Education 2030 Framework Action, is coordinated by the UNESCO Education Agency and aims to “provide equal and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”
UNESCO’s report “Redesigning our future together: a new social contract for education” states that we need renewed and more effective approaches to help students improve their ability to adapt and mitigate climate change, therefore education itself to shape fair and sustainable futures. The report states that the relationship between Man, Nature and Technology should be recalibrated.
UNESCO has also stated that Education for Sustainable Development should become a core component of all education systems at all levels by 2025. Education for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with dimensions of Cognitive, Social and Emotional as well as Behavioral Learning aims to develop knowledge, awareness and action. It empowers students of all ages with the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes to address the interconnected global challenges, including climate change, environmental degradation, biodiversity loss, poverty and inequality. As students learn about SDGs, they are better equipped to tackle daily life problems, discovering new technology and career opportunities. Students should acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to advance sustainable development.
We should mobilise political goals, work, solutions and solidarity and transform education, assess efforts to address the learning losses associated with the pandemic, redesign existing and future education systems, and provide an inclusive, equal and quality education. Common issues need to be transformed and worked on by the UN at the Education Transformation Summit, which aims to stimulate national and global efforts to provide lifelong education for all
- Future Schools and Learning Environments,
- New Age for Teacher and Teaching,
- Curriculum and Pedagogy Appropriate for the 21st Century,
- Digital and Other Learning Resources,
- Financing Education in accordance with Its importance.
At the 10th International Conference on Sustainable Development, Education for Sustainable Development (ESD): Teaching, Learning and Curriculum Development session held on 19-20 September 2022, I made my poster presentation of “STEM Education for Sustainable Development Goals” as the Scientix Project Ambassador to Turkey. In summary, we know that education today does not deliver on its promise to help us shape peaceful, just and sustainable societies. Therefore, it has never been more important to redesign the way we learn, what we learn and how we learn. Now is the time to transform education, invest in education, especially STEM education, and better equip students of all ages with the knowledge and skills to meet the global challenges our world faces today and will face tomorrow!
The world is confronted by more complex challenges than ever before, from developing a cure for Covid-19 to tackling global climate change or making sure we have enough water, food and energy. Solutions to these problems are not found in textbooks or multiple-choice tests. Society needs problem solvers who can tackle such issues in creative and innovative ways and do this within a multidisciplinary team. One of the main tasks of this education is to prepare people for actively addressing real-world challenges and questions. As teachers, we must design learning activities that enable our students to develop the skills they need to participate in problem-solving processes and become innovative thinkers. The key is to design a learning scenario that identifies a challenge in a real-world context and requires students to apply their innovative solutions, designs or ideas to audiences outside of the classroom. Therefore, STEM pedagogy, daily living skills, knowledge of the natural environment, values and ethics should include the enculturation of its components.
In the OECD’s 2030 vision, it is pointed out that the effects of the inevitable and approaching economy-based transformation necessitate a parallel transformation in education systems. Schools face a growing demand to prepare students for rapid economic, environmental and social change, jobs that do not exist yet, technologies that have not been invented, and to solve unforeseen social problems. Accordingly, education policies should reorganise schools to fulfil these functions and focus on these goals.
The world only has until 2030 to deliver on the promise of SDGs. To do this, present and future generations must be equipped not only with technical knowledge and skills but also with a deeper understanding of the values needed to create a peaceful and sustainable future. For this reason, human skills cannot be developed without quality education, and it is not possible to reach SDGs without developing human skills.
Çelebi Kalkan is a primary school teacher in Turkey. He is the author of STEM+A with Tales for Children and Sustainable Development Goals for Children Competency Books. He is also a climate change and sustainability leader and Scientix Ambassador.