Start with Children for the Education Sustainable Development

Start with Children for the Education Sustainable Development

When LUO attended the first Multi-stakeholder Committee (MSC) at Guanlan Sub-town, Shenzhen in the fall of 2009, she had no idea what education for sustainable development (ESD) really means or how to get involved in this program. But now, after more than two years working with the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC), she has much to share about her path of bringing about change to the local school life and even to the education system as a whole.

"Initially, we were impressed by the passionate and diligent team who came along with this refreshing idea, so that a trusted chemistry had been increasingly built up. It has been a nice and equal cooperation between ISC's team and the local schools, which allows for smooth implementation." Luo said.

In China, the government plays the role of the education leader, and schools are quite used to taking administrative directions passively. But by working with ISC on the ESD project, the local schools at Guanlan had a completely different experience. "The pilot schools and I are pleased that our opinions and comments were heard and considered, so that we were able to move forward under the realistic context in our community."

Being the key person to improve education quality in Guanlan, LUO has been helping local schools improve their education methodologies. Defeng Primary school has had recycling program since 2007, providing hands-on learning opportunity for students to transform used paper into suitable painting and drawing material. With LUO's suggestion, Defeng recorded the whole recylcing process, guided students to understand and share their thoughts with others, and even promoted the recycling program to government and businesses by exhibiting of the drawings and sending the recycled paper to government agencies for public use. Now, Defeng's project is attracting more and more attention from other schools - some have even started learning the technique to replicate the project at their school.

After joining ISC's study tour to Nishinomiya city of Japan in 2010, LUO brought back a profound and refreshing understanding on ESD-education for sustainability is supposed to install the concept of a low carbon lifestyle into the next generation and advocate it to families and ordinary citizens. "It was a totally different experience to actually go to Japan and see how the multi-stakeholders are working together to protect their environment in person." Soon after returning to Guanlan, LUO initiated a campaign to use handkerchiefs and solid waste separation in Guanlan. Sixteen public and private schools volunteered to take part in this campaign, involving more than 10,000 students. Through using handkerchiefs instead of tissues and separating solid waste at schools and at home, students will learn to how to use resource wisely, thus saving energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

"The Pilot Schools gained a lot by working with ISC's ESD network, and they continue to gain more from our national and international partners," LUO said. "One of the positive results of the project is that we've trained and mobilized some leaders among the teachers, principals and parents. They've accepted the concept of sustainability, and their mindsets have been changed. Therefore, they will become leaders in actively directing the ESD program and even bring about change to the existing education system. It takes time for change to happen, but we can see that change is coming."

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