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Key Message

National and local learning agendas should be agendas for change—helping citizens to live sustainably.

Manitoba and the UN Decade for Education in Sustainable Development

Contributing to education in our home province

What's New?

  • technical_vocational_education_sd_mbEducation for Sustainable Development at Manitoba Colleges and Universities: Results from an institution-wide survey and president interviews across Manitoba’s 11 institutions of higher education
    In response to the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), Manitoba’s Department of Education has made a commitment to reorient the formal K–12 education system towards sustainability. Manitoba Education asked the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) to conduct a study of how ESD concepts and practices are being pursued within colleges and universities in Manitoba, in order to further ESD implementation at the K–12 level. The aim is to gain a better understanding of what opportunities for education for sustainability are available within the province in post-secondary institutions. The study also explores whether Manitoba campuses reflect a “whole school” learning environment, in which course content is reflected in the daily operations of the campuses around them (as per the approaches now being taken in several K–12 school divisions across the province). There are excellent sustainability initiatives present in Manitoba’s colleges and universities. However, it would appear that, to date, a comprehensive view of ESD implementation within universities and colleges in Manitoba has not been compiled.

  • Education for Sustainable Development in Canadian Faculties of Education
    This study examines how Canadian faculties of education are incorporating Education for Sustainable Development into their pre-service programs, research, and other activities. It was produced by the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC) Education for Sustainable Development Working Group (ESDWG), in partnership with the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and Learning for a Sustainable Future (LSF).

  • Technical–Vocational Education for Sustainable Development in Manitoba
    Tomorrow Now: Manitoba's Green Plan recognizes the need to instill "green skills, knowledge and values within our existing and future workforce." This will require, among other things, "advancing... technical and vocational education and training [TVET] in support of the transition to a green economy." In preparation for making this commitment, Manitoba Education asked IISD to undertake an exploration into how technical–vocational schools and programs across the province are incorporating sustainable development into the education and training of their students, including school policies, management and teaching practices. The review identifies promising practices and barriers, and presents a number of suggestions for strengthening education for sustainable development (ESD) in TVET.

Manitoba and Canada work on the Decade

Manitoba Education, Citizenship and Youth (MECY) has taken a leadership position nationally in working with Learning for a Sustainable Future and Environment Canada on activities for the 2005 to 2014 Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, established by the United Nations.

A National ESD Expert Council has been established, together with the creation of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) provincial working groups. MECY has started to pilot provincial activities as a showcase to other provinces. The Manitoba ESD Working Group is focusing on education and training institution policies, school activities, K-12 curriculum, and learning outcomes and resources. IISD is working with MECY to develop materials for senior education officials (principals, trustees, superintendents, etc.) and educators in order to build awareness and support for ESD activities, and provide tools for their participation.

IISD's three major interests are:

IISD is particularly interested in the challenge of assessing changes in societies in knowledge, choices and attitudes that can be attributed in some measure to the work of the UN Decade. We have initiating research into how to establish a baseline of sustainable development awareness, and what will be required to monitor that baseline over the next few years. Measuring Knowledge, Attitudes and Behaviours toward Sustainable Development: Two Exploratory Studies (PDF - 445 kb) is a first attempt to devise standardized tests for knowledge, attitudes and behaviours toward sustainable development, in adults and students.

About the UN Decade

During the UN Decade, UNESCO, the appointed task-leader, will be assisting governments, educators and all relevant stakeholders to develop innovative and culturally relevant strategies for ESD. ESD does not imply creating a new educational program, but requires the re-orientation of educational systems so that they integrate the values inherent in sustainable development into all aspects of learning, and encourage change in behaviour that promotes justice and sustainability for all.

UNESCO has translated this into four objectives.

1. Facilitate networking, linkages, exchange and interaction among stakeholders in ESD.

2. Foster an increased quality of teaching and learning in education for sustainable development.

3. Help countries make progress towards and attain Millennium Development Goals through ESD efforts.

4. Provide countries with new opportunities to incorporate ESD into education reform efforts.

UNESCO: Education for Sustainable Development: United Nations Decade (2005–2014) is the official UNESCO site tracking ESD activities around the globe.

Other international actors on ESD