Dissemination of Education for Sustainable Developmen
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ESD is an educational vision that balances human and economic development with cultural traditions and respect for the planet’s natural resources. It emphasizes the learning aspect that facilitates the transition to sustainability (Bhawani, 2010). Many countries around the world are promoting education for sustainable development, incorporating the concept of sustainable development into curricula, textbooks and educational and teaching practices. Education is the fundamental condition for improving a country’s sustainable development capacity. Many uncivilized behaviors of human beings are rooted in the “poverty of wisdom.” For example: ignoring environmental challenges and unlimited overdraft of natural resources. As a result, social and economic development is unbalanced and disharmonious. While sustainability challenges and calls for ESD exist around the world, the general understanding is that local realities and manifestations of “unsustainability” are often very different and deeply rooted in local histories and political and cultural traditions. Next, the article will focus on education for sustainable development in China.
The economic base determines the superstructure, and education, as an integral part of the superstructure, will inevitably be affected by economic development. “Education for Sustainable Development,” as a concept and a practical activity, must also be influenced by culture. China is a multi-ethnic unified country. Based on cultural unity, there will be cultural diversity. Due to the vast differences in natural conditions, economic and political levels, and different geographical and material conditions, people have formed Different lifestyles, ideas and customs that have created different regional cultures. It will also affect the field of education. Before the reform and opening up, or even longer, the education level in China was deficient, and only the children of wealthy families had the opportunity to learn knowledge. But after the reform and opening up, education has accelerated the pace of reform and development. In the 1990s, the Chinese government prioritized science, technology, and education when formulating an overall strategy for reform and development. Because the level of education not only reflects the personal quality of all citizens of a country but also affects the future and destiny of the country.
The social benefits of education are normally distributed, and the investment in education is proportional to the output. That is to say, after the whole process of education and shaping, the vast majority of students can be successfully transformed from natural persons to social persons, and the vast majority of students can be accepted by society. Output and social needs truly achieve seamless connection. Before the reform and opening up, due to the lack of China’s economy, the education system was not perfect, and there were very few educated people. The school’s hardware facilities are not sufficient, and the number of teachers is even more pitiful. However, after the reform and opening up, China’s economy has gradually improved, and the Chinese government has realized that education is very important to the development of the country, so it focuses on the development of China’s education. Cultivating all kinds of talents is also in order to better contribute to the development of the country. Vigorously build schools and enrich school hardware facilities. Before the reform, the school had only desks and chairs, and teachers could only write on the blackboard with chalk, and the dust also polluted the environment; now the school is equipped with handwriting boards, projectors, and even more schools are equipped with tablet computers for students. Before the reform and opening up, people believed that girls should be at home with their husbands and children, and only boys were qualified to learn knowledge; now everyone has the right to learn. Before the reform and opening up, only children with good family conditions could study abroad; but now many schools in China have cooperation projects with foreign universities, and even some Chinese campuses established by foreign universities have also established some Sino-foreign joint schools. From elementary school to university.
Take me as an example. When I was in elementary school, the desks and chairs in the school were all made of wood. The teacher was writing on the blackboard with chalk. Every time I went to clean the blackboard after class, I would choke on the dust and cough. The playground is still muddy. Every time I run, the shoes I can always step on are full of mud. When I run, countless dust will fly up, and my classmates’ cough while running. In middle school, the tables and chairs are still made of wood, but there is a projector on the podium, and the teacher can better explain it to us through ppt in class. In high school, the playground became a plastic track, divided into many areas, including basketball, football, and volleyball courts. Finally, when we arrived at the university, we gradually transformed from paper money writing to computers or tablets to take notes. The university has gyms, swimming pools, tennis courts, basketball courts, cafeterias and other hardware facilities. The teachers who teach are gradually getting better. Through my case, we can learn that ESD is inseparable from economic development. ESD is characterized by its breadth of vision, holistic approach, and extension of earlier concerns about environmental sustainability to social and economic sustainability. Education for sustainable development and the economy are mutually reinforcing. Education for sustainable development is inseparable from the support of the economy, and economic growth is also inseparable from the contribution of highly educated talents. Presently, the social benefits of education in China are typically distributed, and the investment in education is proportional to the output.
Education reform has achieved remarkable results, and some of our students and parents have also benefited from the reform. However, when looking at the overall primary education, no one can be optimistic. We are still faced with the traditional concept of pure examination-oriented education and the short-sighted behavior of simply pursuing immediate interests trampling on thousands of children’s growth. These are all worth reflecting on. With the market economy’s gradual replacement of the planned economy and the continuous development and maturity of the market economy, a new concept of education and talent has emerged. Mass production under the planned economic system requires talents who have reached a unified standard under unified education. All educated people must learn to adapt to the uniform education that has long been established. The talents sent by schools to society are like factory products. Unified standards, and batch output, it is difficult to consider the individual needs of the educated, and the development of students’ personalities has been severely restricted. The new economic system needs individualized talents, talents with innovative spirit and innovation ability. So, China promotes quality education.
As countries compete internationally for knowledge-based goods and services, knowledge and skills become more critical to economic development (Little & Green, 2009). Education is the transmission of culture, customs and ideas formed in this group to the next generation by a community, society or nation in a specific way and characteristic. Since the World Commission on Environment and Development proposed the concept of sustainable development in our Common Future report in 1987, education has been regarded as an important way to promote sustainable development (Little & Green, 2009). Education for sustainable development aims to reconcile the conflicting interests of present and future generations through a balanced and integrated approach and to meet people’s economic, social and environmental needs for sustainable development. Sustainability is undoubtedly crucial to the education of schools and even the life of students. It can be said that education without sustainable development is the old test-oriented education by rote memorization. From a particular perspective, the development of quality education is undoubtedly the education of sustainable development.
Nearly 40% of UNESCO member states have included ESD in their formal curricula (UNESCO, 2022). Another one-fifth of member states considered school-specific programs their most significant contribution to ESD. Although different themes or forms are somewhat unbalanced in other countries and regions, in some countries with practical implementation, ESD in schools is reflected in ESD curriculum implementation and textbook arrangement. In the past, China implemented exam-oriented education, which caused students to go out of school and enter society in a very rigid and boring way. It is not flexible to deal with the problems encountered in society. Therefore, after the reform and opening up, China’s implementation of quality education does not focus on students’ subject scores but requires students to develop in all aspects. In recent years, China’s college entrance examination system has also introduced policies for students with specialties such as sports students and art students. Do not blindly require students to learn book knowledge but focus on learning in their areas of expertise. Countries around the world are also becoming more and more successful on the road of sustainable development education. It is because of this that more and more outstanding talents will emerge and lead us to a better future.
In the United Nations framework, ESD can be divided into two parts, quality primary education and sustainable development. To ensure sustainable development on the premise of developing education. The four priorities of ESD are improving access to quality primary education, repositioning existing education programs, increasing public understanding and awareness, and providing training (Little & Green, 2009). . ESD is mainly integrated into national education policies and curriculum descriptions, especially in primary and secondary education (Bhawani, 2010). Education for sustainable development is an all-round transformative education, thus realizing a profound change in the history of educational thought.
Little, A. W., & Green, A. (2009). Successful globalisation, education and sustainable development. International Journal of Educational Development, 29(2), 166-174.
UNESCO. (2022, April 21). Inclusion of ESD in school curricula and activities on course | UNESCO. Www.unesco.org. https://www.unesco.org/en/articles/inclusion-esd-school-curricula-and-activities-course
Venkataraman, B. (2009). Education for sustainable development. Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development, 51(2), 8-10.