In September 2015, Belize along with other countries embraced a set of goals under the new sustainable development agenda in the hope of protecting the planet. The Ministry of Education is now looking to provide education for sustainable development. To this end, a two-day workshop was held at the Radisson Fort George where educators learnt how to provide education for sustainable development. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) facilitated the workshop. Claude Akpabie, Programme Specialist for Education Cluster Office for the Caribbean, spoke to the media about the initiative.
Claude Akpabie – Programme Specialist, UNESCO: “After that you have to empower teachers to embrace the concept of education for sustainable development and we have to mainstream in the examination or whatever assessment that we do for students once all the other two elements are in place what are the acquisition that the student have coming from the teaching and learning delivered to them and out of that if there are changes of behaviour it is expected that we will make progress towards the achievement of the sustainable development agenda.”
Reporter: Can you give us an example of sustainable educational systems and how that differs from ordinary education systems?
Claude Akpabie – Programme Specialist, UNESCO: “The only thing is that we have been taught in the past not thinking about what we do today and how it affects tomorrow. So it’s not a dramatic change it’s just putting more emphasis on the fact that awareness should be raised of the current generation about whatever action they are engaged in today affects tomorrow and the future generation. So in a way we shouldn’t be perceiving it as something completely dramatic but it is just a way of letting people know that the education system now science is educating us that something wrong is going and if we continue to proceed with the way we consume, with the way we live our lives today if we continue to do so the future generation will be disadvantaged.”
Deborah Domingo, Chief Education Officer of the Ministry of Education, said that sustainable development is important to the country.
Deborah Domingo – CEO, Ministry of Education: “We went to look at our own national development plan Horizon 2030 education underpins all the goals and objectives, the same can be said of the sustainable development goals. In fact I don’t think there is any goal that can be accomplished without having quality education as a driver, a facilitating condition for the accomplishment of those and so it is important for the education sector to have that as one of the priorities that we are planning for achievement of those goals and we need to be mindful that it is absolutely important that we do what we do excellently. So quality education is key and if we keep resilience and sustainability in mind for this present generation and the future generation- education for sustainable development speaks to an approach to providing quality education that is relevant to our present needs, economically, socially, environmentally and culturally that would enable to have a society that is productive, peaceful and that we do so and we thrive in such a way without sacrificing the chances that the future generation will have to do the same and to excel and go beyond.”
Domingo said that it is the first workshop on education for sustainable development.