Promoting ESD in schools

Since Japan proposed the promotion of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) as a global theme in 2002, ACCU has been working closely together with UNESCO and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) to advance efforts on ESD both at home and abroad in line with global frameworks such as those defined in: the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (UNDESD); Global Action Programme on ESD (GAP, 2015-2019); and the Education for Sustainable Development: Towards achieving the SDGs: ESD for 2030 (2020-2030). Specifically, ACCU has been making significant contributions to strengthening ESD in schools since 2008, when it took on the role of secretariat of the UNESCO Associated Schools in Japan, which serve as hubs for the promotion of ESD.

The whole-school approach to ESD

ACCU, as a key partner organization of one of the five priority action areas of GAP: transforming learning and training environments, has been engaged in supporting the implementation of the whole-school approach to ESD. This approach instils ESD in every aspect of school life and at all levels and promotes ESD in schools in cooperation with various institutions. Changing the values of not only the students but of teachers as well is an important theme in order to involve the whole school in ESD efforts. Furthermore, creating opportunities with a whole range of education institutions for all school stakeholders to learn from one another about sustainability gives us a chance to reflect on the diverse forms of education.

School education in the future and ESD

ESD is identified as the basic philosophy in the FY2020 Curriculum Guidelines (Courses of Study) which aims to nurture builders of a sustainable society, and related contents are incorporated in each subject. As ESD is promoted around the world as well as becoming a premise for all schools to implement in Japan, ACCU’s role of devising projects and offering learning materials to schools, teachers and education-related organizations as well as providing various support has become increasingly important. Learning about, as well as implementing and experiencing ESD, give children and adults the opportunity to significantly transform themselves.

Participating in ACCU’s projects encourages the quest for learning transcending differences in school forms, whether it be elementary or secondary schools, special education, public, private or NPO-established schools, giving birth to a myriad of ideas beyond conventional educational philosophy. Sustainability is not only incorporated in curriculum management and evaluation which are directly linked to students’ learning, but also is becoming embodied in aspects of school management as well.

Our projects

Support for UNESCO Associated Schools

Other ESD promotion projects