Ministry of Education, Guyana

Tuesday, 01 November 2016 15:39

Education For Sustainable Development

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Guyana, like all other countries, faces challenges in realising sustainability in socio-economic development. A key part of this challenge is the preparation of citizens empowered with the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes to realise sustainable development. This Policy, therefore, seeks to introduce the principles of sustainability in all aspects of the formal, non-formal and informal education system in Guyana. Guyana will work to ensure the development of an enabling environment and capacity for all sectors and stakeholders to effectively contribute towards the achievement of sustainable development. The implementation of this Policy supports the Government of Guyana’s Vision 2020. Vision 2020 envisions sustainable socio-economic development, good governance and human safety within a green society. Quality education is key for the achievement of Vision 2020.

It is recognised that quality education is not only about access to education, but it also requires a reorientation of the education system that provides the knowledge, skills, values and attitudes which respond to individual, national and global needs and expectations. Quality education encourages the development of critical thinking which fosters the desire and capacity for lifelong learning. Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is simply good quality education which is about what and how people learn and its relevance to today’s world and its global, environmental and social challenges. ESD has spread across all levels and areas of education, in all regions of the world, and is widely considered key in supporting sustainable development. International and national strategies dealing with the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development are beginning to reflect ESD as a crucial component.

As a result, UNESCO’s selection of Guyana to develop this Education for Sustainable Development Policy is timely as the UN Decade on Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) has ended. This is the first policy of its kind in the Caribbean and we hope to set the example for other Caribbean territories. As sustainability challenges grow, education must play a decisive role in providing learners in the region with the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values to discover suitable solutions. This is fitting especially when the world is faced with economic and social inequalities, environmental degradation, biodiversity loss and disruption caused by natural disasters and climate change. In addition, Guyana is especially at risk because of its unique situation where approximately 90% of its population resides along its narrow coastal plain which is below sea level. The coastal plain is where the country’s major agricultural production is located. Global activities that adversely impact its biodiversity and its environment will place the country in an immediate vulnerable position with severe consequences for its economy and people. This Policy, therefore, supports Guyana’s Vision 2020 which is a response to the UN Sustainable Development Goals through Education for Sustainable Development (refer to Appendix 2).

It is recognised that strong leadership and commitment from all sectors are required for the institutional strengthening that will transform education in Guyana to respond to sustainable development. This transformation seeks to advance quality education through galvanised pedagogical innovation that promotes a shift in the education system’s methodology in order to achieve the desired objectives. Consequently, extensive partnerships and networks – within and between sectors – are imperative to the implementation of this Policy.

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