Education plays a key role in the sustainable development of our planet and enables people to develop, gain new knowledge and skills, and gain a better understanding of the environment and its challenges.Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) helps to address today's global challenges - climate change, resource scarcity, etc. Sustainability-savvy citizens consciously change their daily behaviours - not using plastic, sorting waste, saving energy, preferring bicycles to driving or walking. These simple habits, which actually create a good environment, are shaped by education, information and critical thinking.
CAMP Alatoo PF has been working to promote ESD in the country since 2019. One of the indicators of the organisation's success in this direction is the great interest in the experience of CAMP Alatoo PF at the Central Asian level. In early April, environmental education specialists took part in an international seminar on "Transforming Education: Development, Evaluation and Implementation", organised in Almaty by the UNESCO office in Kazakhstan. The main topic of the event was raising awareness on ESD among a wide range of experts from governmental bodies, educational institutions of Central Asian countries, representatives from Bangladesh, Vietnam, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Nepal, Russia and the Philippines.
Environmental education specialists of CAMP Alatoo PF, Alia Ibraimova and Dina Maldybaeva, in offline and online formats told the workshop participants about the implementation of ESD in educational programmes in Kyrgyzstan. This process, which started in the framework of a Kyrgyz-German project on the conservation of walnut forests, included several stages. The initial aim was to develop educational materials for communities and schools located in settlements near or in the famous Arstanbap nut forests in the Jalalabad region.In co-authorship with the staff of the Kyrgyz Academy of Education, the Republican Institute of Professional Development of Teachers, local and German experts, specialists of the CAMP Alatoo PF prepared a manual "Education for Sustainable Development and Biodiversity Conservation" with extensive visual material from posters, photos, cards. A special feature of the manual was its focus on natural resources - forest, pastures - and the climate of Kyrgyzstan and the connection of biodiversity with the Sustainable Development Goals.
The testing of the material in schools gave the green light for further use of the manual by teachers in geography and biology lessons. In parallel, the teachers' knowledge on the concept and methodology of teaching ESD, based on innovative and interactive methods of communication with students, was improved. Four master trainers of the Education for Sustainable Development course were selected from among the trained teachers, who undertook the transfer of knowledge and experience to their colleagues.Under the guidance of mentors, 35 teachers in the Jalalabad region became 'pioneers' in incorporating the manual into their curricula. The local level was followed by the national level. The need to teach ESD based on the manual was expressed by I. Arabayev KSU, Osh State University and the Republican Institute for Professional Development and Retraining of Teachers under the Ministry of Education and Science of the Kyrgyz Republic (RIPK). A special course was developed for teachers and students, taught with coaching support and technical advice from CAMP Alatoo PF.
The active promotion and education of the concept and methods of ESD to the teaching audience has coincided with a governmental need. Last year, it was decided at governmental level to develop and introduce green skills in subject standards and curricula. Kaliman Junushalieva, PhD in Pedagogy, master trainer of the ESD course, said that sustainable development will soon be included in textbooks and didactic materials for students and educators.
It is therefore an urgent requirement today to continue training the authors and compilers of textbooks, school leaders and teachers of geography and biology. "If some time ago we were advertising ESD, saying that the issue should be addressed immediately, because we are already taking half of the planet from the next generation, now teachers themselves are asking for trainings," said Kaliman Junushalieva. She and other master trainers have been conducting workshops for their colleagues since 2022. During that time 680 teachers from over 400 hundred schools and 6 universities of the country have learned about methods of teaching ESD, and are using the "Education for Sustainable Development" handbook in their work. Over 50,000 schoolchildren and students learnt about the concept of ESD in the context of Kyrgyzstan's natural resources.
"The teaching material making up the content of the manual is a good methodological approach, which is given together with effective tools and pedagogical techniques. It also takes into account classical and modern teaching methods. The material is presented in accessible language and the detailed lesson plans make it easier to absorb the knowledge", says Kaliman Junushalieva.
The efforts of the CAMP Alatoo PF and all partners working on the dissemination and popularisation of ESD have led to an impressive result: I. Arabayev KSU, the M. Rakhimova Institute of Professional Development and Retraining at I. Arabayev KSU, RIPK and Osh State University have introduced this component into their curricula.
This achievement sets Kyrgyzstan apart from other countries of Central Asia, where ESD in universities and schools is still an elective course or is taught as an elective course or in circles. Therefore, intensive exchange of experience on promotion and integration of ESD in education systems at regional level in Almaty raised capacity of educators and clarified their vision of their contribution to the implementation of the Global Action Programme on ESD.
Source of photo: Almaty | UNESCO
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