Education is both a goal in itself and a means for attaining all the other SDGs. That is why education represents an essential strategy in the pursuit of the SDGs (UNESCO 2017).
Small and big events affecting our societies and our personal lives are linked to what happens to the environment and the rest of humanity. In the same way, our choices and lifestyles have an immediate and future impact both locally and globally. That is why we must make sure that our habits as well as our economic, political and social organizations are more sustainable and inclusive.
Schools are already committed to meeting this need, also thanks to global initiatives such as the UNESCO Associated Schools Network - ASPnet.
However, when can we consider a school to be sustainable and global? How can schools encompass global citizenship education and develop their economic, social, environmental sustainability? How can schools measure their progress towards sustainability? How can we disseminate this process?
As part of GET UP AND GOALS! CISP – the NGO leading our project - and its partners are trying to answer those questions through a Toolkit for Sustainable and Global Schools.
It is a self-assessment tool that schools can adopt, step by step, applying suggested actions in main areas such as: students’ involvement and actions; teaching and learning (contents and methods); communication; resources, procurement and recruitment; leadership and management; staff training.
It is a practical guiding and monitoring tool targeting school operators and stakeholders (headteachers, administrative and technical staff, teachers, as well as civil society organizations, institutions and universities). It suggests ideas, initiatives, practical examples and useful indicators to appraise the improvements of the whole school community, with a self-assessment approach.
It is also an inclusive tool allowing different institutions to build, perceive and highlight each small development, both internally and externally. Even 'disadvantaged' schools can plan their goals year by year focusing on a particular area and level to start with.
Becoming more consistent with the 2030 Agenda is a positive experience that involves the whole community and helps strengthening it. For instance, if a neighbourhood lacks recycling services (it happens!), the local school can take action: purchasing eco-friendly goods; reusing and recycling as much as possible; organising recycling within its premises. This will develop a positive model for the whole area, will promote active citizenship towards students and will increase their belonging to a virtuous community.
We know that schools are often overburdened with work and responsibilities. Adopting our Toolkit for Sustainable and Global Schools requires planning, constant work and regular monitoring of results. Each school can ask for help to a small committee and involve NGOs like us, the nearest university or the local authority. Stakeholders will support and share this experience, learning from each other.
We hope to concretely inspire schools and invite you to contact the Get up and Goals! partner in your country if you need assistance towards this path.
To learn more about our Toolkit for Sustainable and Global Schools, you can download all related documents and watch the video