UNESCO organized a webinar on Sub-regional Forum on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD): Revitalizing Green School Actions for Climate Change to Build Sustainable, Peaceful and Resilient Southeast Asia, on 22 September 2020. The webinar aimed to: revitalize the sub-regional Green School Actions for ESD 2030, foster stakeholder commitments to ESD for 2030, and reinforce national and sub-regional partnerships and networking opportunities for ESD, as well as share Education Response to COVID-19, in order to build sustainable, peaceful, and resilient Southeast Asia.
Around 740 participants, representing the Ministries of Education, Institutes, Universities, Teachers, Green School Stakeholders, UNESCO Associated Schools Network (ASPnet), and National Commissions for UNESCO from the Cluster countries under UNESCO Jakarta, joined the event. More than 1,000 people interacted through UNESCO Jakarta Facebook during and after the online event.
In his opening remarks, Prof. Shahbaz Khan, Director of UNESCO Jakarta, emphasized the importance of ESD to achieve SDG4 and its targets. Dr Mee Young Choi, Head of Education Unit of UNESCO Jakarta, presented the UNESCO programme on ESD and its green schools initiatives, followed by Prof. Arief Rachman, Executive Chairman, Indonesian National Commission for UNESCO, Ministry of Education and Culture, on the partnership between Indonesia and UNESCO on National-wide Multi-Stakeholder Initiative on Green School.
The main session of the event was sharing of country reports on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)/Climate Change Education Policy and Strategy in Education Response to COVID-19 and National-wide Stakeholder Initiatives (NAMSIs) for ESD/climate change education for sustainable development (CCESD) by the 5 cluster countries, including current situation, challenges and recommendations. The presenters are: 1) Yang Mulia Pengiran Hajah Mas Joliwane binti Pengiran Tejudin, Head of Unit, Science Technology Environment Partnership Centre (STEP Centre), Ministry of Education, Brunei Darussalam; 2) Dr Ananto Kusuma Seta, ESD National Coordinator, Ministry of Education and Culture, Indonesia; 3) Dr Sheela Nair Gopala Nair, Principal Assistant Director, Educational Planning and Research Division, Ministry of Education, Malaysia; 4) Ms Jocelyn D.R. Andaya, Director IV, Bureau of Curriculum Development, Department of Education, Philippines; and (5) Mr Simao do Rosario, Coordinator of Office of Protocol, Public Relations and Cooperation, Ministry of Education Youth and Sport, Timor Leste.
The country reports noted that policies are present in relation to ESC/CCESD which are common to all as well as each country has specific responses to the current COVID-19 health crisis. The countries are coping with common challenges specifically in implementing online/distance learning. All countries have similar recommendation in implementing and expanding green schools initiatives even during the pandemic period. Dr Mee Young Choi summarized the presentations and identified four common issues from the five cluster countries: 1) sustainability of initiatives – stressing on participation and sustainability of ESD programme comprehensively, 2) connectivity – national initiative under the national effort in improving connectivity particularly covid-19 related challenges, 3) lack of distance learning access, especially during covid-19 pandemic, as well as teacher capacity, especially to cooperate with parents during distance learning session, and incentive mechanism, and; 4) actions-implementation practices for curriculum integration under the national policy.
In his remarks in concluding the webinar, Prof. Shahbaz Khan reiterated the importance of working together and having a continuous commitment to ESD for 2030. He pointed out that ESD is a key enabler for all 17 Sustainable Development Goals as well as key to preparing the world for future crises like COVID-19.