13 LEARNING TO MAKE SCOTLAND SUSTAINABLE
Glasgow from space
WE ARE FACING MAJOR AND UNPRECEDENTED CHALLENGES TO MODERATE OUR PREVIOUSLY UNSUSTAINABLE PATTERNS OF DEVELOPMENT. CLIMATE CHANGE IS THE MOST URGENT AND PRESSING EXAMPLE OF THIS. SCOTLAND WILL NOT BE ABLE TO MEET THESE CHALLENGES UNLESS PEOPLE - WHATEVER THEIR AGE, STATUS, OCCUPATION AND LIFESTYLE - HAVE THE NECESSARY KNOWLEDGE, AWARENESS, UNDERSTANDING AND SKILLS TO PLAY THEIR PART
13.1 We are facing major and unprecedented challenges to moderate our previously unsustainable patterns of development. Climate change is the most urgent and pressing example of this. Scotland will not be able to meet these challenges unless people - whatever their age, status, occupation and lifestyle - have the necessary knowledge, awareness, understanding and skills to play their part.
13.2 The international community agreed at the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002 that the central importance of learning should be taken forward through a Decade of Education for Sustainable Development. The Decade was launched in March 2005 and runs until 2015, presenting a valuable opportunity to pull together programmes and education and learning in support of this new strategy.
13.3 The initial focus in Scotland will be on schools based education and the Minister for Education and Young People announced what would happen in this area in June 2005 24.
13.4 We want to see a Scotland where:
- Learning for sustainable development is a core function of the formal education system.
- There are lifelong opportunities to learn.
- The sustainable development message is clear and easily understood.
A CORE FUNCTION OF THE FORMAL EDUCATION SYSTEM
13.5 Scotland has the highest percentage of schools in Europe which are involved in the Eco Schools Programme, a whole school approach involving teaching and non-teaching staff, parents and the wider community as well as pupils in learning about sustainable development issues. At present over 70% of schools are registered Eco Schools. The target is to have 80% of all schools registered on the Eco Schools Programme by January 2008.
13.6 Investment in the school estate - over £2.3 billion by the end of this decade - means that school children in Scotland will be learning in buildings that embody sustainable design principles. There is a key learning point here: children up and down the country are getting involved in the designs for their new classrooms, putting sustainable development education into immediate practice.
WE WANT TO SEE A SCOTLAND WHERE:
- LEARNING FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IS A CORE FUNCTION OF THE FORMAL EDUCATION SYSTEM
- THERE ARE LIFELONG OPPORTUNITIES TO LEARN
- THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT MESSAGE IS CLEAR AND EASILY UNDERSTOOD
13.7 The review of the curriculum presents a major opportunity to embed education for sustainable development into Scotland's schools. The aim of the review is for young people in Scotland to be successful learners, confident individuals, effective contributors, and responsible citizens, who can develop knowledge and understanding of the world and Scotland's place in it. The Executive will ensure that the new Curriculum for Excellence integrates education for sustainable development across subject areas.
13.8 Scotland's universities and colleges have a vital contribution to make to the UN Decade. In their estate developments they can act as exemplars to others. The Funding Council will provide best practice advice and assist - where possible through funding mechanisms - the development of an estate which is based on sound principles of resource procurement, energy efficiency, and waste management.
13.9 Universities and colleges also have a role to play in spreading knowledge to their students and the wider community, supporting research that leads to more sustainable technologies and introduce education for sustainable development into their curricula wherever relevant, particularly for qualifications relating to the use of natural resources. The Executive will work with the Funding Council to develop guidance and examples of best practice in all these areas.
LIFELONG LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES
13.10 Education for sustainable development is for everyone, at whatever stage of life they find themselves. This is a key priority if we are to learn to:
- understand the consequences of our actions in terms of sustainable development
- identify what we can do to achieve better outcomes
- know how these changes can be made.
13.11 The wider contribution to the UN Decade will cover education in its broadest sense including school education, higher and further education, informal education and lifelong learning. The Executive will publish its plan for action in these areas by March 2006. Monitoring of that plan, including progress on commitments and achievement of outcomes, will be included within the reporting arrangements for this strategy.
St John Bosco Primary School Erskine, Renfrewshire
St John Bosco Primary School is a large suburban primary school in Erskine. The school has focused on litter, energy and the school environment for their Eco Schools work and gained a first Green Flag Award in October 2004. They are also working on the Health Promoting Schools initiative, having held a health focus day, which looked at diet, mental well-being and exercise, and are involved in Walk to School Week twice a year.
The school has also done much work on energy with primary 7 pupils studying renewable and non-renewable energy sources. This led pupils to look into the possibility of the school having its own renewable energy device installed and
in 2005 they eventually managed to get a 2.5kW wind turbine erected on the hill behind the playground. It supplies the school with electricity and provides an interactive learning resource for pupils in the area. This turbine is expected to reduce electricity costs at the school by around 14% and is the first of its kind in Renfrewshire. It is an excellent example of 'thinking globally, acting locally' and will allow pupils to see the benefits of renewable energy at first hand.
13.12 There are many examples of programmes in Scotland that are supporting individuals and communities to learn by doing, linking training and development packages with practical conservation and environmental improvement programmes. We want to build on the success of this type of initiative, extend the coverage (but with a particular focus on deprived neighbourhoods) and identify critical success factors for any future programmes. The Executive will provide funding of £100,000 for the next three years to develop, support and evaluate this initiative.
13.13 It will be important that training in sustainable practices is embedded into all types of professional and business education, so that there is the widest understanding of how to achieve greater sustainability in all fields of commercial practice. As technology advances against a background of rapid change, global competition and rising expectations of choice, the skills of our people and their continuing development are ever more important. We are keen to work with the relevant bodies to develop the existing skills base and support the development of necessary new skills. The green jobs strategy sets out a range of support actions in this area.
THE MESSAGE IS CLEAR AND EASILY UNDERSTOOD
13.14 Communicating the sustainable development message in a clear and compelling way represents a major challenge. We will continue to explore the most effective mechanisms for communication and engagement by learning from international experience, research and evaluation into what works, and market research.
13.15 Central government is not always the most powerful and effective communicator in this area. Our communications approach in Scotland will be based on a partnership with key stakeholders including Scottish NGOs, local authorities, Defra, the Sustainable Development Commission, SEPA and SNH. These partners will be challenged to explore, identify and implement the most effective communication techniques.
13.16 The communication plan for the strategy will also need to consider the relationship with other key messages including action on climate change, recycling, energy efficiency, travel choices and biodiversity. The plan will be developed on a partnership basis and put in place by the spring of 2006.
13.17 To make the strategy work the sustainable development message must also be clear and easily understood by policy makers and practitioners, both within the Scottish Executive and across the wider public sector. That will be a key objective of the communications plan.
13.18 This needs to be supported by training and awareness raising to ensure that policy makers have the skills, knowledge and understanding to promote sustainable development. This includes learning how to overcome institutional and cultural barriers to more joined-up working, with a focus on the outcomes we are collectively trying to achieve rather than the delivery of individual programmes.
13.19 This is an important learning agenda for the Executive too and a new programme will be introduced to promote skills for sustainable development within the organisation. This will include a one day programme for senior managers, training and support for a network of environmental guardians, awareness raising seminars and the integration of sustainable development issues within Better Policy Making as well as generic programmes to support more joined-up working.