Institute of Sustainable Education in cooperation with the Centre for Sustainable Business at SSE Riga invited teachers and other educational staff to attend the conference “Education for sustainable development” which was held, for the first time in the Baltics, on 21 and 22 February in Riga. The objective of the conference was to promote debate on how to efficiently integrate the principles of sustainable development in the content of training of educational curricula.
Sustainability comprises various aspects and areas - people, economics, environment, energy, lifestyle, entrepreneurship, industry, culture and many more, however, by looking at each of the issues in isolation, the same idea of sustainability, which essentially means the ability of viewing issues in a broader context, is often lost. It is possible to learn almost any school subject in the context of sustainable development. Sustainability is the key development theme that is critical not only in the European Union, but throughout the world as well.
“Because the sustainable development theme is closely related to human values, attitudes, choices and actions from early childhood, it is important that awareness of these issues is raised as early as possible, because it is too late to start talking about these issues at university.
“Sustainability is a part of one's life, one's way of thinking. It should be taught in the family and in the earlier stages of the education system. Thinking about the environment and waste separation are the simplest examples which are promoted actively, e.g. in Switzerland and Sweden. Children get involved in this process early on not only at home but also in educational institutions”, Dace Kavasa, a corporate sustainability consultant and a lecturer at SSE Riga, points out.
Presentations at the conference were delivered by keynote speakers from Sweden, Finland, Lithuania, Belarus and Latvia. The following issues were debated at the conference:
- How to integrate sustainability related issues into the traditional curricula?
- Which sustainability issues are the most critical for the future students of business schools?
- What can we learn from the approach used in the neighbouring countries such as Sweden, Finland, and Belarus for teaching sustainability in schools?
- How to implement sustainability education in the formal education?
- What innovative methods can we use to teach sustainability in schools?
The conference included workshops during which the representatives of the Baltic secondary schools were able to learn about the best practice in terms of teaching methods and approaches employed in sustainability education. The conference was initiated by the Centre for Sustainable Business at SSE Riga which, with the support of SEB Bank, is engaged in performing research, training and promotion of sustainable activities. The conference was organised and financed by the Embassy of Sweden in Latvia in collaboration with the Swedish Institute and Institute of Sustainable Education of Daugavpils University.