Teachers from Latin America unite to Educate for the Planet

published 14 June 2021 updated 30 June 2021

More than 6000 teachers from Argentina, and from education unions in Latin America and the world, participated in the International Congress on Environmental Education, organised by the Confederación de Trabajadores de la Educación de la República Argentina (CTERA).

On June 4 and 5, teachers, intellectuals, union leaders, artists, and civil society organisations and environmentalists came together virtually to reflect on environmental education under the angle of social justice, as a tool to build knowledge and practices that impact schools and the capacity to transform the world.

The event is part of Education International's Teach for the Planet global campaign, which aims to ensure that Climate Education, based on scientific data and with a civic action approach, is as important as reading and writing. The campaign will contribute to the global mobilisation for quality Climate Education in view of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (Conferencia de las Naciones Unidas sobre el Cambio Climático COP26) taking place in November 2021.

The Argentine Minister of Education, Nicolas Trotta, participated in the opening ceremony of the Congress. In his speech, he referred to the recently approved National Law on Comprehensive Environmental Education, which proposes a "permanent, transversal and comprehensive" national public policy in all educational establishments in the country.

Education International General Secretary David Edwards said: “We must ensure that climate change education is recognised as fundamental as reading and writing. As education systems are reconfigured after the pandemic, governments must recognize the importance of quality climate change education and work closely with the teaching profession to develop, monitor and implement climate change education policies.”

Sonia Alesso, General Secretary of CTERA, added: “We think about environmental education from the paradigm of Latin American Environmental Thought, which allows us to think with others, and in these 25 years we have worked with civil society organisations, and environmentalists from Argentina and Latin America to build knowledge and practices that impact the school, educators and teacher training."

Bringing the voice of global trade unionism, Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), highlighted the relevance of this global campaign, which believes in the transformative power of education to re-install trust in science in the current era of post-truth and fake news.

During the Congress, videos were broadcast with greetings from teachers from different provinces of Argentina who sent their messages of support for the environment and their congratulations to teachers who fight for the environment. The popular artist Ramiro Lezcano presented his emotional and beautiful project " Urgent Songs for my land", a collective work of students from rural schools and more than 400 national and international popular artists.

You can view the entire Congress on the YouTube channel of CTERA

To learn more about CTERA's work in environmental education, you can read the following article: "Argentina: Teachers lead the national strategy for Comprehensive Environmental Education." (ei-ie.org)