Monday, September 3, 2012

Educating for Sustainable Development

Quick test:  What are the eight themes that the United Nations has determined as important in humanity's move toward sustainable development? Okay, let's try something easier. What which years comprise the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development?  Oh, come on now. Don't tell me that you don't know those right off the top of your head!  How can that be?  Oh, that's right. When we were in school just a decade ago (right?) the concept was more theoretical than it was practical. Now, just a short generation later, we are standing at a crossroads of human history and environmental capacity. 

At ISKL we recognize that sustainable development is more than just a catch phrase. It's a necessary component of our students' education. The knowledge, skills and attitudes that they walk away with after their time at ISK will mold much of what they do. Post-graduation data indicates that 95% of ISKL graduates will go to university within two years. In all probability, they will end up in a leadership position and, in so doing, internalizing sustainable development practices is essential to defining what their life will look like. 

At all levels and disciplines we are working toward an interdisciplinary approach to infusing the concepts of ESD into existing curriculum in a way that should allow our students to recognize just how all inclusive and involved sustainable development is. Here's what it looks like:
  • Standard 1: Understand the importance and characteristics of Sustainable Urbanization.
  • Standard 2: Understand the benefits of Sustainable Consumption and the value of resources.
  • Standard 3: Appreciate the significance of Peace and Human Security whilst developing strategies to maintain them.
  • Standard 4: Appreciate the importance of Rural Development and how to enrich rural communities.
  • Standard 5: Recognize the importance and benefits of Cultural Diversity.
  • Standard 6: Appreciate the values of Gender Equality.
  • Standard 7: Appreciate the importance of Health Promotion and develop an understanding of how to improve it.
  • Standard 8: Recognize the importance of protecting the Environment and the role of individuals, communities and governments. 

Take a look at the list above. Study it. Combine that list with your everyday conversations, your thoughts and your decisions. See what you can do to assist us in making your son or daughter a truly prepared global citizen. It's time we got off the paper and into the daily discussions. It's time ESD wasn't a separate concept but one which, as we hope, will define everything we do as people and as a community. 

Now, no peeking. Want to to take that test again? :-)

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