By Kannan R Nair
Edited by Dorpaima Lumban Gaol
Caption: Senior Advocate Uthia Estiane presenting on the SDGs in Indonesia
The Global Schools Program, an initiative of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, celebrated the graduation of its second cohort of Global Schools Advocates. The vision of the program is to create a world where every primary and secondary school student is equipped with the knowledge, values, and skills necessary for effectively responding to the greatest challenges of this century through Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).
This year, the Global Schools Advocates Program provided free training to 177 school teachers and educators at the K12 level representing 50+ countries. The training enabled the Advocates to promote the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Education for Sustainable Development (SDGs) through classroom lessons and school-wide activities. After taking the initial training course, teachers showed a 36% statistically significant increase in their self-rated ESD knowledge and a 22% statistically significant increase in their self-rated knowledge on the SDGs.
“The change is most obvious in my class. Many of them are aware of the problems now, and they are able to incorporate the SDG knowledge in other relevant discussions too. The most frequent one would be about gender equality.”
Fiona Hsu, an Advocate from Hong Kong
After the free training, Advocates received 100+ pages of Activities guides, 60-lesson plans, a comprehensive toolkit, and monthly online workshops to help teachers and schools adopt a long-term strategy on implementing Education for Sustainable Development, Global Citizenship, and 21st-century skills in their communities. These teachers reached 27,500 students, helping youth create sustainable solutions to become leaders of the future. Additionally, this resulted in the engagement of 6,800+ additional teachers in the work of Global Schools.
Caption: Global Schools Advocate Onboarding Call, March 2021
Global Schools celebrates the work of these Advocates and the powerful stories of change that have been seen in their schools due to the promotion of ESD. A review of 120-academic studies conducted by Stanford University shows that ESD education helps students to achieve better academic outcomes, promoting self-esteem, leadership skills, maturity, and equipping students to explore avenues for peer collaboration. ESD also helps schools achieve more partnership opportunities and global recognition coupled with increased student civic engagement and positive environmental behaviors.
“The culture of the school is being transformed. I can see teachers and students being more aware of their actions.”
-Elynn Vázquez Wong, an Advocate from Mexico
Global Schools regularly surveys and interviews our local advocates, schools, and teachers, in order to identify the needs and challenges of these stakeholders. To ensure quality, we consistently monitor Advocates activities to effectively assist the team in implementing SDGs in lessons and curriculum across the continents. In this cohort, Advocates conducted 2,300+ lesson plans and activities on the SDGs. The majority of lesson plans conducted spanned SDG 4: Quality Education, SDG 5: Gender Equality, SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being, SDG 13: Climate Action, SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation, SDG 1: No Poverty, and SDG 2: Zero Hunger.
“The elements of change were evident and clearly demonstrated by the teachers' motivation. After the presentation during the workshop, they were unanimous about the importance of ESD and embraced it without the slightest doubt. They are very ready to start integrating the SDGs in their lessons. Interestingly, teachers were from all the major subject areas. They ask for more workshops with specific needs like detailed lesson planning sessions in the different subject areas.”
Ngum Doris Wanchia else Kemajou, An Advocate from Cameroon
Caption: Global Schools Advocate from Nigeria, Esther Oluwatoyin Agaja, introducing the SDGs to the state education board.
After completing their term, the majority of the Global Schools Advocates aspired to continue their role as Advocates for SDGs. 100% of Advocates believe that their work has increased awareness of the SDGs and ESD in their communities, 98% of Advocates say their work has raised awareness of the SDGs for students, and 99% of Advocates say their participation in the program has positively impacted their students.
“The biggest change I noticed was that starting this year, [the] SDGs will be part of a specific class. In other words, SDGs will have a class just about [them], and possible projects in the school and in the community will be discussed.”
-Carla Lyra Jubilut, an Advocate from Brazil
With proven success rates, the Global Schools Program is on a journey to reach even more students. The current Advocates-in-training for the 2021-2022 cohort of Global Schools Advocates Program has representation from 80+ countries. Moving forward, the Global Schools Team is working on developing a case-study guide with an extended analysis of outcomes achieved through previous advocates and schools.
“I see commitment increasing, I have witnessed more staff taking part in the small school actions. I see how the school board is also committed and supports the integration of major changes at school, like the new Green Roof dedicated to pollinators (1/4 of the total School Roof). There is still a group of teachers that need to make the first step. Fortunately, it is becoming smaller, and the changes are clearly coming from the example they take of the commitment of their students. Parents are aware of our school Education for Sustainable Development vision and action plan. The majority of our school is now a Global School!”
Marti Hendrichs, an Advocate from Austria
Caption: Activity on the SDGs led by Global Schools Advocate in Algeria
“My students have gained confidence to fight for gender equality, enhanced good health and well-being approaches, [and] developed skills to eradicate hunger and lower poverty. Lastly, students and parents have planted trees and I believe soon the environment will be green.” .
-Chacha Samson Mwita, an advocate from Kenya
For more information about the Advocates Program, media enquiries, and interview requests, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on Global Schools, visit: globalschoolsprogram.org