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Global Schools Advocates Program

"Education for Sustainable Development and for global citizenship will empower today’s young people to become knowledgeable, effective and compassionate leaders of the future. The UN member states were wise to include SDG Target 4.7 as a key enabler of the SDGs."

- Jeffrey D. Sachs, President, UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network


It is crucial that students develop the knowledge and skills to navigate the challenges of the 21st century, and there is compelling evidence linking sustainable development education with increased student academic performance and 21st-century skills. Despite the overwhelming evidence of the benefits of ESD, this type of transformative education is not integrated into all classrooms globally. A global UNESCO survey of 58,000 teachers found that over 80% of teachers were interested in education for sustainable development; however, over half of the respondents faced challenges teaching SD because they were not familiar with suitable pedagogies, and training opportunities did not exist. Across the world, only 8% of countries have integrated sustainable development (SD) into teacher education (GEMR, 2016). Therefore, Global Schools (GS) promotes transformative change in classrooms by integrating sustainable development concepts into teacher training to improve student learning. 


The Specifics

GS’ flagship initiative is the GS Advocates Program, a 6-month long training and advocacy program for educators and school leaders working in primary and secondary schools globally. The training program was developed after surveying 220 local sustainable development champions and 40+ educators. The training includes 30+ lectures, original readings, and comprehensive assessments. 17 supporting documents compile the Global Schools Advocates toolkit, which assists teachers in ESD implementation via a specific action-research methodology to incorporate ESD in schools and improve education delivery. Within one year, teachers and school leaders who completed the program collectively engaged nearly 108,112 students in 7,300+ classroom lessons and activities on ESD and trained 12,300+ additional teachers via the program’s trainers-of-trainers model.


The Experience


Increase in  knowledge on sustainable development goals


Of Advocates agree that the training gave them new ideas to try in the classroom


Belive their role increased sustainable development awareness for [their] students


Increase in education for sustainable development knowledge


Of Advocates would recommend the training to colleagues


Belive their role as an Advocate has had a positive effect on [their] students

*Data gathered during 2021 cohort 1

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Benefits for Schools and Students

For schools

In the span of 5-month, Advocates identified the following school changes due to their training and role:


Of schools in which Advocates work have improved litter or waste management


Of schools in which Advocates work have made sustainability a strategic goal or vision


Of schools in which Advocates work have started extra-curricular initiatives for SDGs


Of schools in which Advocates work have integrated ESD into

staff development

*New data gathered during 2021-2022 cohort 

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