EDUCATION FOR SUSTAINABLE NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT: A PIVOT FOR GLOBAL PEACE IN THE 21ST CENTURY
The issue of sustainable development has become an intrinsic problem in the mind of an average Nigeria as well as the international community over many decades ago. A nation is said to attain sustainable development when it has reached a level of equilibrium in economical, social and environmental factors of her economy. But when there is high degree of hunger, poverty, insecurity, inequality, poor health management, child abuse and child trafficking, dysfunctional education, to mention but these few, in any nation, the idea of sustainable development cannot function effectively and this may yield to numerous challenges. Sustainable development in this aspect is the development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs. Education for sustainable national development (ESND) gears towards promoting and improving basic education for national stability, reorienting the existing educational system at all levels to address sustainable development issues, enhancing public awareness and understanding of sustainability, training and skills development for the world of work. Education for sustainable national development views “education” as the only key to unlock the golden-hidden treasures of which sustainability is all about for any developing nation such as Nigeria towards the actualization of global national peace. This paper discusses the following topics: concept of education for sustainable national development, challenges facing the implementation of education for sustainable national development (ESND) in developed and developing countries, barriers to education for sustainable development in developed and developing countries, summary, recommendations and conclusions.
Education, Sustainability, National development
Education has been identified as an essential tool for achieving sustainable development leading to global peace. The term education for sustainable national development (ESND) involves integrating key sustainable development issues into teaching and learning. This may include, for examples, instruction about climate change, disaster risk reduction, biodiversity and poverty reduction and sustainable consumption, human right education and peace education. Education for sustainable national development (ESND) also requires participatory teaching and learning method that motivates and empowers learners to change their behaviour and take action for sustainable development. It equally promotes competencies like critical thinking, imagining decisions in a collaborative way and being able to proffer solutions where necessary.
A deep look into the educational system of some developed and developing countries of the world today will reveal that this important paradigm has not come on board due to numerous socio-cultural cum environment challenges characterizing the international communities. The constant occurrences of these anti-sustainable issues deem it very expedient to educate the entire citizens of the world to realize and equally understand too that their action at any point in time can create a positive or negative impact on their lives. Hence when education for sustainable national development (ESND) is maximally adopted into educational system of the whole nations, it will not only empower them but also make them have a change of attitude and work towards achieving the goal of sustainability in education and global peace in the 21st century.
Concept of Education for Sustainable National Development (ESND)
The United Nations Agenda 21 was the first document that identified education as an essential tool for achieving sustainable development (UNESCO, 2013) in support of the above assertion, the World Commission on Environment and Development (1987) maintain that development is sustainable if it “meets the need of the present without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs” (WCED 1987). Sustainable development could probably be otherwise called “equitable and balanced” meaning that in order for peace and development to continue indefinitely, it should balance the interests of different groups of people, within the same generation and among generations and do so simultaneously in three major inter-related areas – economic, social and environmental development.
Education for sustainable development represents a catalytic process for social change that seeks to foster through education, training and public awareness on values, behaviour and lifestyles required for sustainability and peace of the whole world (Taylor, Nathan, & Coll, 2003). Thus, sustainable development can be seen not much as a technical concept but as an educational one, not so much as the end goals of a government policy but a process of learning how to think in terms of “forever” global peace. This means that education for sustainable development involves learning how to make decisions that balance and integrate the long term future of the economy, the natural environment and the wellbeing of all communities near and far, now and in the future. It empowers learners to take informed decisions and responsible actions for environmental integrity, economic viability and a just society, for present and future generations, while respecting cultural diversity. It is about lifelong learning, which is an integral part of quality education. Education for sustainable national development is a holistic and transformational education which addresses learning content and outcomes (Mckeown, 2002). As a learning content, it gears toward integrating critical issues, such as climate change, biodiversity, disaster risk reduction (DRR), and sustainable consumption and product (SCP) into the curriculum (Hoga & Tormey, 2008). As pedagogy and learning environment, it helps designing teaching and learning in an interactive, learner-centered way to enable exploratory, action-oriented and transformative learning, rethinking learning environments–physical as well as virtual and online – to inspire learners to act for sustainability. Education for sustainable national development enhances learning outcomes stimulating learning and promoting core competencies such as critical and systematic thinking, collaborative decision-making, and taking responsibility for present and future generations so as to achieve the goal (ESDC, 2011).
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