THE NEXT FIVE YEARS … AND BEYOND
Scotland has made huge advances in education for sustainable development over the past five years. As we move into the second half of the UN Decade, our focus is on sustaining the momentum that has built up over the first half of the Decade, and on creating a flourishing Scotland where people have developed the knowledge, understanding, skills and values to live more sustainable lives - and choose to do so. So where do we go from here? And what are our goals for the remaining years up to 2014 and beyond?
We will focus over the next few years on working together to:
- build on the momentum created in the first half of the decade
- celebrate our successes
- develop networks to share experiences, skills and ideas and offer support
- look for new and innovative approaches to ESD
- support the development of leadership in ESD
The actions that the Scottish Government and its key partners are committing to in this plan will make a large contribution towards ensuring that ESD is integrated throughout Scottish society - and we all need to be involved and working together to move towards truly living sustainably in the future.
Action 1: The Scottish Government and partners will host a series of seminars over the remainder of the Decade, which will bring together key people across the three strands of education to share best practice in ESD, and to consider further ways of working together.
Action 2: The Scottish Government will host an event at the end of the Decade to celebrate the achievements in Scotland on education for sustainable development - and to consider how best to continue this good work in the future.
For the UN Decade, we have a vision of schools in Scotland where:
- Education for sustainable development helps young people to become responsible citizens
- Classroom learning is set within a whole school approach that promotes the same values
- Schools are modernised and improved based on sustainable design
- Schools have access to the highest quality materials, advice and support on sustainable development education
- Learning and support in sustainable development is of the highest quality
- Schools are making the best possible use of our natural heritage as a classroom for learning
In the biggest shake-up of Scottish school education in a generation, the Scottish Government, local authorities and partners are implementing Curriculum for Excellence - a more coherent, flexible and enriched curriculum for 3 to 18 year olds, in which the principles of education for sustainable development and global citizenship are firmly embedded. The new curriculum helps equip the children and young people of today with the skills, knowledge and values they will require to meet the challenges of the 21st century. It has also led to the introduction of Glow, the world's first national education intranet, encouraging schools, teachers and pupils to join-up online to share ideas and information.
Schools are increasingly taking a whole school approach to ESD - through the curriculum, through the way their buildings and grounds are run and through the leadership, culture and ethos of the school. With Scottish Government funding, the Eco-Schools programme has proved an enormous success in Scotland. This is an international initiative which encourages schools to take action to reduce energy usage and to help protect the environment, with a focus on pupil participation as a vital part of a whole-school approach. 97 per cent of local authority schools are now participating in Eco-Schools, with almost a third of these having been awarded the prestigious Green Flag award, making Scotland amongst the best performing Eco-School countries worldwide.
There are also excellent opportunities for active learning about sustainable development through participation in school travel plans, engaging on issues about how schools can be more sustainable and developing skills to work in the sustainable jobs of the future. This all contributes to helping develop responsible global citizens.
Learning and Teaching Scotland ( LTS) has committed to establishing a Sustainable Development Education Advisory Group, which will help to provide strategic direction for developing ESD as a key context for learning within Curriculum for Excellence. LTS will also develop further support for staff to assist them in the delivery of ESD within schools, through online resources, face-to-face meetings and other CPD learning tools.
The Scottish Government will continue to support all of these developments, and will encourage the various bodies involved in their delivery to keep up the momentum, to ensure that ESD continues to be embedded throughout schools in Scotland.
For full details of these and other commitments for the schools sector in the second half of the UN Decade, please go to: www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Education/Schools/curriculum/susdevp
Universities and Colleges
For the UN Decade, we envisage a Scotland where:
- Our universities and colleges play a key role in developing knowledge and understanding of sustainable development
- Estates developments embody the principles of sustainable development and encourage learners and staff to act sustainably
- Education for sustainable development is integrated into curricula
- The whole experience offered to learners contributes to the development of their sustainability literacy and citizenship skills, attitudes and behaviours
- Universities and colleges have access to the highest quality materials, advice and support to enable them to embed education for sustainable development into their courses and the wider student experience
- The value of sustainability skills is understood and articulated by institutions, learners and employers.
In the last five years we have developed our understanding of these activities in colleges and universities and it is clear that significant progress has been made across all of these areas.
The urgency of climate change and global warming has clearly been widely recognised, with nearly 75 per cent of higher and further education establishments having now signed up to the Universities and Colleges Climate Commitment for Scotland. This commits them to developing a five-year action plan, and to bringing students and staff on board in the challenge of implementing this plan - ESD in action - all of which will contribute towards a significant reduction in emissions. The Scottish Government and partners will continue to encourage establishments in this sector to sign up to the Universities and Colleges Climate Commitment for Scotland, and to deliver on the associated five-year action plans.
With funding assistance from the Scottish Funding Council, the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges ( EAUC) has now established a permanent office in Scotland, at Queen Margaret University's Musselburgh campus. This centre acts as a one-stop shop for advice, guidance and training on sustainability, environmental management and social responsibility for universities and colleges.
The universities and colleges sector is committed to looking at options for embedding sustainable development principles into professional requirements for teaching in colleges, and at ways of making sustainable development literacy an expectation for new entrants to vocations and professions.
A report undertaken by HM Inspectors on sustainability in Scotland's colleges was published in October 2009. It concluded that whilst sustainability is embedded in the strategic plans for the majority of colleges, and there has been a lot of progress in terms of sustainable college estate management, there is not yet sufficient development in colleges in terms of raising awareness of sustainable development issues amongst staff and students, or of embedding sustainability into the content of courses and modules. This is an area for improvement over the next five years of the UN Decade, and to ensure this is happening, the Scottish Government and partners will be encouraging colleges to act upon the recommendations made in the report.
In addition to this, there is a need to recognise the impact on Scotland's colleges and universities of Curriculum for Excellence being implemented in our schools, as young people leave school and move on into further and higher education. It is vital that universities and colleges engage closely with the schools sector over the next five years, and beyond, to consider implications from this fundamental change, and the Scottish Government and Scottish Funding Council will support them in doing so.
More detail on the plans for colleges and universities over the second half of the UN Decade can be found at: www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Education/UniversitiesColleges/16640/UNDESD
ESD is not solely about schools or the traditional learning environment. It relates to education and learning in its broadest sense, incorporating all aspects of community and business learning. Delivered through public, private, voluntary and community sectors, learning at all levels can help us move towards a sustainable way of living.
Recognising this wider reach of ESD is a key priority for developing a Scotland where:
- learning for sustainable development supports action for change
- young people learn about sustainable development through all aspects of their lives - in and out of school
- communities have opportunities to learn more about the sustainable development issues that concern them
- communities use their learning about sustainable development to help them shape the future
Community Learning and Development ( CLD)
Over the last five years there has been good progress in the community arena. For example, the Community Development Alliance Scotland ( CDAS) organised a seminar in February 2009 in partnership with the Scottish Government on the theme of Learning to Work Together for our Future, at which Keith Brown, Minister for Schools and Skills, gave the keynote speech. A further similar event was hosted in February 2010 by Scottish Natural Heritage in partnership with CDAS and the Sustainable Development Education Network. These seminars brought together a wide range of people involved in supporting community-based learning and action on sustainable development issues and helped to start setting the agenda for community learning and development and ESD in the second half of the UN Decade.
Another success story is the Scottish Government's Climate Challenge Fund ( CCF), which was launched in June 2008 with a budget of £24.7m over the three financial years 2008-11. In total, the fund is supporting around 250 communities across Scotland. Communities are encouraged to work together, and to come forward with their own solutions to make a significant reduction in carbon emissions that will contribute to Scotland achieving its ambitious climate change targets. Projects can involve a range of actions, from helping communities to use less energy, walk and cycle more, to local sustainable food. The projects can also have environmental, social and economic dimensions; this can be to give people new skills, improve health, help them to work together or to provide better community facilities. Carbon reduction must however be at the heart of every proposal and the community at the centre of any decision making.
We recognise, however, that more work is needed across the CLD field, and over the next five years we aim to build on the momentum which has begun. The focus will be on four key areas within CLD: building community capacity to help the move towards sustainable living; developing stronger links between ESD and youth work; improving communication and networks between ESD and CLD, and working to upskill the CLD workforce.
The Scottish Government will support its key partners in improving links and networking between practitioners in order to increase the overall focus of ESD in Scotland's community learning and development sector. To help drive progress, we will set up a short-life working group with key partners from the CLD sector.
For further information on the actions that the Scottish Government and partners will undertake to help build links between ESD and the field of community learning and development, please go to: www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Education/Life-Long-Learning/LearningConnections/policytopractice/learningforchangecld
In The Workplace
There is a wealth of good practice in the business community relating to learning for sustainable development. A couple of examples are highlighted below:
Scottish Business in the Community is a membership organisation which specifically aims to support Scottish businesses to improve their impact in the workplace, marketplace, community and environment. It aims to help shape new ways of doing better business, helping to create socially and environmentally stronger communities. One of the key ways of doing this is through the delivery of a wide range of projects and training courses around corporate social responsibility, climate change, and sustainability more generally.
VisitScotland, the national tourism organisation, is committed to ensuring Scotland's tourism industry continues to innovate, think and act sustainably. Through European Regional Development Funding, VisitScotland is developing a series of free events for tourism businesses, promoting business growth through the encouragement of sustainable business practices. These are scheduled to run throughout 2010 in various venues around Scotland.
Public Awareness and Capacity-Building
The Scottish Government is supporting a number of exciting initiatives across Scotland both in government itself and in the wider public sector aimed at increasing understanding of sustainable development, some examples of these are given below:
The 'GoGreener' campaign was launched by the Scottish Government in 2008 ( www.infoscotland.com/gogreener).
This is a two-year initiative which aims to contribute to widespread culture change and to 'normalise' so-called 'green' behaviours. The campaign encourages and supports people to take action to adopt more environmentally-sustainable behaviours that can contribute to the achievement of the Scottish Government's climate change targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions, as well as to its national outcomes of: reducing the local and global environmental impact of our consumption and production; and valuing and enjoying our natural environment whilst protecting and enhancing it for future generations.
The Scottish Government is working on an Energy Efficiency Action Plan and Zero Waste Plan, both due for publication in late Spring 2010, which will be the main vehicles for work on energy and waste reduction and efficiency, with a key element of this focusing on public awareness and behaviour change.
As further evidence of Scotland's commitment to respond to our global responsibilities on climate change, the Scottish Government announced at the end of 2009 that a number of Fellowships would be established to allow talented individuals from Commonwealth countries to come to Scotland to share in our cutting edge knowledge on climate change adaptation and mitigation.
The CIFAL centre in Findhorn, part-funded by the Scottish Government, is a United Nations Institute for Training and Research on sustainable energy and climate change, and hosts a variety of training courses and workshops to raise awareness of these issues. The Scottish Government is also one of the partners supporting the Natural Change project for education leaders. Led by WWF Scotland, this innovative project is attempting to address the challenge of environmental sustainability through key leaders in education, who are in turn encouraged to influence others around them.
A number of other public sector bodies are also contributing to ESD in action. The Forestry Commission Scotland ( FCS) for example is pro-active in its promotion of the use and enjoyment of Scotland's forests, feeding into the principles of ESD. It supports a range of visitor centres and informal recreation programmes which encourage learning about woodland environment, biodiversity and forestry as a sustainable industry. The Commission also produced A Convenient Truth in 2008, both a short film and a theatre performance for the Edinburgh Science Festival 2009 to highlight forestry's role in tackling climate change. In March 2009, the FCS produced its first Skills and Careers action plan, with the aim of addressing the forestry sector's image as an employer, tackling the skills shortage amongst 'forest floor' workers, and facilitating apprenticeships within the private sector. Opportunities are available for 30 modern apprenticeships in Forest Enterprise, and FCS is working to assist in the delivery of the Skills for Work - Rural Skills course.
With a view to supporting the wellbeing of Scotland's people, Historic Scotland's Education Unit works in partnership with Reachout, a mental health support group in Clackmannanshire, to provide creative opportunities for members to develop new and existing skills and confidence in their own abilities. In 2008-09, the Education Unit also worked in partnership with Stirling Council on an adult literacy project with inmates at Cornton Vale Prison.
These are all excellent examples of how organisations and communities across Scotland are helping integrate education for sustainable development into our everyday lives. By continuing to build on this and all the other good work that has taken place over the last five years, we can work together towards a sustainable future for Scotland.