Last updated: 24Apr2018

In recognition of education for sustainable development (ESD) as essential elements for achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in doing so, the concepts of ESD are vital to be mainstreamed in school curriculum, contents, practices and policy planning, while the teacher educators and school leaders have been playing a significant role in the implementation and achievement of ESD in the institutional levels. For that reason, Faculty of Education, Souphanouvong University, with the financial support of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organizations (UNESCO), conducted a workshop on “Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) for Lao Teacher Education Institutions” on 18-20 December 2017 in LuangPrabang Province, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR).

Background to the workshop

Overarching goal of this ESD-workshop was “to generate and scale up action in all levels and areas of education and learning to accelerate and progress towards sustainable development”.

Objective 1: “to orient education and learning so that everyone has the opportunity to acquire the knowledge, skills and attitudes that empowers them to contribute to sustainable development”

Objective 2: “to strengthen education and learning in all agendas, programmes and activities that promote sustainable development”

Objective 3: to strengthen the capacity of Lao Teacher Education Institutes (TEIs) on a deep understanding the concept of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) that enables them to integrate and institutionalize the EDS into their institutions for sustainability.

Objective 4: to empower the participants’ practical skills, knowledge, concepts of ESD to build their capacity to advance the implementation of ESD into institutions.

Objective 5: to share and exchange experiences in regard to ESD integration among teacher education institutions in Lao PDR whether ESD has been already integrated or not.

Objective 6: to create a network of ESD team within Lao Teacher Education Institutions and beyond, in addition, to become a useful and ongoing platform for sharing opinions concerning ESD in the long-term future.

Key understandings are summarized below:

  • ESD is about to provide learners strong decision ability, responsibility for caring environment, economic development, and justice while respecting diversity of cultures.
  • It is a vital for lifelong learning, and is an essential component of quality education and to transform sustainable society.
  • The participants from TEIs underscored the importance of understanding the concepts of ESD, and practices.
  • ESD should be mainstreamed, integrated and adapted into TEIs’ existing curriculum, and contents to achieve the sustainable development.
  • ESD is interconnected approaches, which is related to economics, politics, society, cultures, lifestyles, and environment.
  • Concepts of ESD are a new thing for the participants from Lao Teacher Education Institutions (TEIs).
  • There are no institutional policies and strategies related to the education for sustainable development in almost teacher institutions, therefore, it is needed to formulate policies to link with the global ESD plan.
  • A locally relevant ESD integration framework is needed to developed and adapted into each institutional context.
  • Addressing sustainability is a challenge for TEIs due lack of capable key actors included school leaders, teachers, subsequently its success is limited because of “the absence of clearly articulated ESD strategies and policies”.
  • It is vital for the participants to gain a deeper understanding of concepts of ESD, approaches and practices.
  • There are many activities, which have been organized within TEIs, but not yet integrated into their curriculum, methods, content, and textbooks.
  • New visions related to ESD within TEIs are needed to be created to link to the international concerted efforts since some TEIs’ vision lack a vision relevant to ESD.