EUA has joined SDG Watch Europe to provide input into the upcoming European Commission proposal for a Council Recommendation on education for environmental sustainability. The Recommendation will look at challenges for the integration of environmental approaches into education at all levels and recommend actions for overcoming these. Moreover, it will set out details how the European Commission will support this through actions and funding.
Even though a Council recommendation is not a binding act, once adopted, member states and the Commission are expected to follow up on the respective initiatives – making it a strong signal of a collective will by the EU member states towards the goal of enhancing education for environmental sustainability.
The policy input from SDG Watch calls on the EU member states to:
- include a clear link to the broader 2030 Agenda and point towards a holistic SDG strategy still to be developed by the European Commission;
- ensure adequate, long-term funding at European, national, regional and local levels for environmental sustainability in education, using different funding programmes in ways that create synergies and complementarity, especially investing in teacher training;
- address the need for equity, diversity and inclusion for all levels of education, including access for learners in peripheral and rural regions;
- fully acknowledge the role of civil society and non-educational institutions such as youth organisations, NGOs, employers and provide support to scale up their innovative practices;
- develop data on existing practices with, for example, a mapping exercise that covers all sectors (formal, non-formal and informal) and levels (from early childhood education to adult learning) of education and training.
In order to reach these goals, the member states should work towards breaking down silos between different education levels and promote learner-centred approaches that include interdisciplinarity, experiential and transformative learning. It is also important to keep in mind the recognition of informal and non-formal learning in this context. While promoting these approaches, member states must respect institutional autonomy.
EUA has worked on these topics in other contexts, most recently through its activities regarding the green transition – notably the webinar series on greening in European higher education institutions and its work on green public procurement.
This article was first published on July 15 by EUA.