Governments must work in collaboration with teachers for education for sustainable development

published 17 May 2021 updated 27 May 2021

Education International’s president Susan Hopgood brought the Teach for the Planet campaign to UNESCO’s World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and emphasised the importance of collaborating with the teaching profession to successfully implement ESD.

Education International’s Teach for the Planet campaign

“I will say on behalf of the world’s teachers and education workers: we remain committed as ever to our students’ right to receive a quality education that prepares them for the future. This commitment is infused into Education International’s Teach for the Planet campaign,” said Hopgood to the conference which assembled education ministers from all over the world as they discuss the implementation of ESD for 2030.

Education International’s Manifesto for Quality Climate Change Education for All

She went on to introduce Education International’s Manifesto for Quality Climate Change Education for All outlining the importance of including climate change education in initial teacher training and professional development.

Hopgood further underscored that the responsibility for transformation of education systems lies with governments, remarking that “only a strong and well-financed public sector with vision and regulatory muscle and public support can bring us back from this brink. In the end the fundamental lessons of sustainable development are the lessons of democracy.”

UNESCO’s report on ESD progress

The plenary followed a presentation of UNESCO’s new report on ESD progress. The report shows that education systems are still not giving students sufficient knowledge to adapt, act and respond to climate change and environmental crises. The study’s analysis of educational plans and curricula frameworks across the world confirms that not enough progress has been made to implement ESD. 45% of national education documents studied made little-to-no reference to environmental themes, and one third of teachers indicated no inclusion of environment-related content in teacher training programmes.

The conference continues for the next two days, during which delegates will discuss how to implement ESD for 2030 and adopt the Berlin Declaration to show their commitment to take urgent action. Watch the conference live here.