Education for sustainable development

Summary document of the round table entitled

“Activities of UNESCO Chairs on Education for Sustainable Development in Modern Society"

The round table titled “Activities of UNESCO Chairs on Education for Sustainable Development in Modern Society» was held on 18 September 2009 in coordination with the International Congress of UNESCO Chairs on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).

The participants of the round table pointed out the UNESCO Chairs considerable contribution into molding education policy at regional and national levels for the achievement of the UN Decade ESD goals. During the assembly process of the International Congress of UNESCO Chairs on Education for Sustainable Development it was confirmed that education is as an effective tool of asserting human values and molding a spiritually grounded individual and solid moral climate in the situation of globalization, the growth of immigration and the worsening of social inclusion problems, and that it should hold an essential responsibility in developing a long-term program for sustainable development in a consumer-oriented society.

The researching into the effects of global, regional and national challenges in the development of education system demonstrates the growth of humanitarian mission of educational institutes and the role of the UNESCO Chairs network cooperation in implementing the ideas of sustainable development of society within the long-term outlook.

Among the programs of the UNESCO ESD Chairs are the tasks of interdisciplinary research, the interdependence of cultural and educational traditions, socio-economic development and the ecology of environment for sustainable development. Also included are the training for the new kind of specialists able to respond to the challenges of time and work in conditions of a crisis, and the development and implementation of humanitarian and informational technologies for network cooperation in pursuit of sustainable development.

The expansion of cooperation among the UNESCO ESD Chairs makes it possible to promote new mechanisms of network interaction in different countries, to develop and realize the joint long-term programs of activities and the communities of practice based on the cross-sectoral platforms, and to disseminate the positive experience of implementing innovative technologies in the sphere of education as the requirements for sustainable development.

The following decisions have been adopted after discussing the reports and statements of the roundtable participants:

-request UNESCO to designate the year 2012 as “Year of the Teacher”, and to plan events of celebration for it as such, based upon the experience of the UNESCO commemoration day, October 5th (Teacher’s Day), as well as the experience of commemoration the year 2010, Year of the Teacher, in Russia.

- actively pursue creative potential of scholars and professors working in network cooperation among the UNESCO ESD Chairs to realize the role of education as foundation of civil society, working to develop spiritual guidance in education policy, in order to achieve sustainable development on national as well as regional levels.

- conduct series of research, as assurance of continual interdisciplinary humanitarian expertise, into the role of educational value aspects in the formation of a spiritually-grounded and culturally-aware individual as a requirement for sustainable development;

- build and implement educational programs for the advanced training and retraining of qualified teachers on different levels and social workers concerned with inclusive education and tutor support in various segments of population, in a polycultural climate;

- stimulate various structures of civil society in developing programs aimed at support of the family on socio-pedagogical and psychological levels, as the foundation of socialization and formation of individual’s civil identity;

- develop partnership ties via joint and academic staff exchange programs and coordination of student’s mobility in order to strengthen the interaction and cooperation among UNESCO Chairs (ESD);

- support the conservation of national languages of smaller peoples, the development of cultural and educational traditions in globalization environment by the ways of the cooperation with government structures and the foundation of centers dealing with the humanitarian expertise of the role of education in the sustainable development, within the framework of UNESCO Chairs network cooperation;

- encourage the conducting of interdisciplinary research in universities and support academic staff in developing the methods of such research aimed at identifying qualitative methods for the available-for-all education;

- facilitate infiltration of ICT in the sphere of education for sustainable development by creating the conditions for improving and upgrading one’s own resources and establishing relations between UNESCO Chairs based on cross-sectoral platforms.

In order to fulfill these recommendations the participants of the conference hereby solicit UNESCO for the support of the UNESCO Chairs project aimed at identifying the mechanisms of network cooperation linked by regional principles, among the Chairs with goals of pursuit of sustainable development. This project was initiated by Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia.

The participants expressed gratitude to the organizers of the international congress for the given opportunity to take part in the dialog of the UNESCO ESD Chairs. We consider the Congress in Khanty-Mansiysk as an important step of the international community towards the radical solving of the problems of sustainable development able to become a wide road to the future of our civilization.