As a pioneer, Baden-Württemberg wants to explain the global economic and ecological context. The government sees a “need for action” in education.
Can the forest kindergarten help to slow down the extinction of species? Do school partnerships with Burundi awaken an understanding of the causes of worldwide refugee movements? With projects like these, the state government wants to make schoolchildren understand the complicated connections between economic, social and ecological processes and make them aware of how their personal actions affect them. The keyword is Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). It is intended to enable learners to “contribute to the necessary societal change”, as the government writes.
When discussing the implementation of the strategy, the Greens were very strict, which led to delays. It is now clear that the state’s environmental academy can contribute its expertise, as Markus Rösler (Greens), for example, urgently wants. But experts from nature conservation centers or nature park schools can also be consulted. It is important to Raimund Haser (CDU) that ESD is not a new school subject, the content should be “implemented financially and in the curriculum within the framework set,” he said.
The sharpening is done, this Tuesday the cabinet should give its blessing to the future strategy.
Country focuses on education from kindergarten
“Baden-Württemberg wants to become a pioneer in education for sustainable development,” emphasize the Green Ministers Theresa Schopper (culture) and Thekla Walker (environment) in their implementation strategy for ESD in Baden-Württemberg, which is available to our newspaper. The strategy is based on the agenda of the United Nations. In it, ESD is named as an essential prerequisite for achieving the 17 sustainability goals of the United Nations.
The state relies on education from kindergarten through school to extracurricular activities. At school, ESD is a key perspective in the educational plan. However, the ministers concede that “there is still a need for action in all areas with the aim of establishing ESD as a natural and general educational task”.
In the future, daycare children should “acquire ecological knowledge through practical experience of nature”. The ministers are thinking of forest days, but also of sufficiently large natural outdoor areas (also in schools).
Central training for teachers
At the schools, they encourage regular campaign days on sustainability as well as the expansion of the model project “School mentoring program for sustainable food”. The further training of teachers is central. Certification is planned for extracurricular offers. The ESD research center founded on July 1 at the Freiburg University of Education is intended to contribute to quality development in higher education.
Teachers insist on commitment
Teachers think the program is overdue. The Education and Science Union (GEW) has already complained that climate policy and measures to combat climate change in school lessons have so far “played far too little of a role”. The state chairwoman Monika Stein wants more commitment. She proposes making ESD a central educational goal. As a mere guiding perspective, the implementation is left to chance.