Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is a vision of education that seeks to balance human and economic well-being with cultural traditions and respect for the earth’s natural resources. It enables people to develop the knowledge, values, skills to way we participate in decisions about they do things, individually and collectively, both locally and globally, that will improve the quality of life now without damaging the planet for the future.
Since UNESCO’s Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014) from 2005, an integrated approach to sustainable development in society, and in particularly in educational settings, has remained a central theme. Through an integrated approach, ESD strives to enable students to acquire knowledge, skills, attitudes and values in relation to sustainable development. UNESCO (2005) formulated this as follows: “Education for Sustainable Development allows every human being to acquire the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values necessary to shape a sustainable future.”
There is growing global recognition of ESD as an integral element of quality education and a key enabler for sustainable development. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the global community for the next 15 years include ESD. Target 4.7 of SDG 4 on education addresses ESD and related approaches such as Global Citizenship Education.
MIE and ESD
MIE has been very active in promoting ESD since its creation in the Republic of Mauritius. It has been conducting a range of ESD activities related to curriculum development, teacher education, educational research and outreach and community engagement.
The MIE strategic plan 2007-2014 sets out sustainable development agenda – ESD implementation at the institution and to set up a Regional Centre of Expertise on ESD. A multidisciplinary ESD team consisting of academics from different subject disciplines, was then set up in 2008. The role of this ESD ‘unit’ is to ensure promotion of ESD at all levels including mainstreaming of ESD in teacher education programmes, curriculum development and educational research at the institution. The new MIE Strategic Plan is also aligned with the 2030 Agenda for Education and has taken care of ESD.
ESD Team Coordination
Dr R Bholah (Coordinator) – Science Education Department
Mr M. Cyparsade (Assistant Coordinator) – Science Education Department
Mrs Sheik Abass Nazeerah (Assistant Coordinator) – Business Studies Department
A. Curriculum Development
Ministry of Education Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research (MoEHRTESR) has recently embarked on the nine-year Basic Continuous Education (NYCBE) Project and MIE has been responsible to coordinate development of this national programme. The curriculum for NYCBE is grounded on the SDG 4 of UNESCO that seeks to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”.
ESD has therefore been addressed in the following documents:
- National Curriculum Framework, Nine- Year Continuous Basic Education (a guiding document)
- National Curriculum Framework for primary education (Grades 1-6) and Secondary Education (Grades 7-9; (mainstream and Extended Stream)
- School pupils’ textbooks and Teachers’ manuals (for all subjects) for primary level
- School students’ textbook for Secondary level
- School Students’ textbook and Teachers’ manuals for extended stream for secondary level
It is noteworthy that consultation with a range of stakeholders involving a democratic process and participatory approach have been used to develop the NCF for both primary and secondary levels. There has also been intensive training for teachers in connection with the new NCF and different textbooks where a range of concepts of ESD were addressed. This educational reform has also involved briefing of school managers, teachers, parents and the public at large about new changes in the education system and the importance of SDG4 and other related SDGs through several means.
B. Teacher Education Programmes
The teacher education programmes have been constantly revisited to align it with every educational reform and with the latest trend in education. ESD has been mainstreamed in several programmes especially in areas related to Science, Languages, Arts, Geography and Social Sciences. MIE also offers stand-alone modules on ESD in several teacher education programmes such as Teachers Diploma (Primary), Bachelor in Education (primary) and Post graduate Certificate in Education (Part Time and Full Time). A range of pedagogical approaches including whole school approach have been used in the teaching and learning of EE/ESD concepts.
C. Educational Research
MIE has coordinated and also engaged in several International, Regional and National consultancies/projects which further helped to promote ESD at the institution and in the country. For instance, MIE conducted a UNESCO research project entitled “Situational Analysis of ESD at School in Mauritius”.
Moreover, incorporation of sustainability into campus operations (rain harvesting, waste segregation and management), governance and administration (e.g green campus, sustainable use of resources – e.g adopting paperless means (e-handouts, e-portfolios)) has been strongly encouraged.
D. Outreach Projects