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Transformative Education for Sustainable Development, Global Citizenship, Health and Well-being

  • Published on February 4, 2022

In 2021, UNESCO, for the 5th time, brought together education stakeholders from across the world to expand the community of practice to promote transformative education through education for sustainable development and global citizenship education as well as education for health & well-being.

Our world is facing unprecedented challenges - climate change, violent and hateful ideologies, mass loss of biodiversity, new conflicts and the risks of global pandemics to name only a few. Education systems need to be reoriented to equip learners with the knowledge, values, and abilities to act for the betterment of all people and the planet, as responsible citizens of a global community. For 75 years, UNESCO has been working to build a more just, inclusive, sustainable, healthy world through education. From November 29 to December 2 2021, UNESCO brought together education stakeholders from across the world to expand the community of practice to promote transformative education through education for sustainable development and global citizenship education as well as education for health & well-being. 

 

What is “transformative education”?  

Transformative education involves teaching and learning geared to motivate and empower happy and healthy learners to take informed decisions and actions at the individual, community and global levels.​

Learners must engage with the world and find coherence between the world they experience in school and the world we all wish to build outside school.

To build this world, we need to learn to read and write, but we also need to learn collaboration, empathy, complex problem solving, connection to other human beings and nature.

Education can only be “transformative” when students feel valued, acknowledged, safe and are included in the learning community as full and active members. This starts by preventing and addressing school violence and bullying, gender-based violence, as well as health and gender-related discrimination towards learners and educators.

Teachers are expected to transform their teaching, for example, ensuring that the curriculum, pedagogy, learning materials, schools or learning environments are meaningful in the natural, political, economic, and cultural contexts.

For education to be of high quality, it must be transformative.

This is why Sustainable Development Goal target 4.7, which aims to help us transform the world, is integral to Sustainable Development Goal 4 and all other Sustainable Development Goals.

Read some examples of how education can be transformative in Angel and Fatma’s stories from Tanzania, Maritza’s from Guatemala’s story or through the 2021 ESD Prize Winners or the education initiatives on the UNESCO Green Citizen platform.

 

What does UNESCO do on transformative education?

UNESCO has called for a new social contract on education as part of a landmark report on the Futures of Education.

The new social contract for education must unite us around collective endeavors and provide the knowledge and innovation needed to shape sustainable and peaceful futures for all anchored in social, economic, and environmental justice. It must, as this report does, champion the role played by teachers.

UNESCO’s programmes on education for sustainable development (ESD), global citizenship education (GCED) and education for health and well-being are all central to achieving this vision, and ensuring education is transformative for every student in every country.

Together, they aim to achieve the transformation of education systems so that learners of all ages are supported to care for one another and the planet, to create more peaceful, just and sustainable societies.

 

What is the 5th UNESCO Forum on Transformative Education?

The 5th UNESCO Forum on Transformative Education for Sustainable Development, Global Citizenship, Health and Well-being is a virtual event that was held from 29 November to 1 December 2021 in Seoul, Republic of Korea.

In view of underlining the complementarity and synergy among diverse education programmes and approaches that have been furthering increased quality and relevance of education and learning, UNESCO is moving towards an integrated approach to SDG Target 4.7 that brings together under the term of “transformative education” these fields, to open the way for innovation in education today. In recent years, many global, regional and national efforts have been made to monitor progress towards Target 4.7, or transformative education. Against the background of these efforts, which all have their respective strengths and weaknesses, and in light of the many efforts underway to implement transformative education, Member States and other stakeholders have increasingly voiced the need to understand better what concrete progress in transformative education looks like and how it can best be captured. The 5th Forum responds to this need.

 

What are the objectives of the 5th UNESCO Forum on Transformative Education?

The 5th Forum aims at identifying what progress in transformative education looks like and how it can best be captured.

Specific objectives

  • To share and analyze good practices, including those that show progress towards achieving transformative education (in policy, curriculum, teacher development, assessment, learning environments, pedagogy, etc.).
  • To review recent global, regional and national level data collected and analyzed in relation to Target 4.7.
  • To discuss possible benchmarks and success indicators for progress towards transformative education.

For more information, please check the following resources on UNESCO's website.

This article is based on the news published by UNESCO.

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