Environment/Biodiversity (1)From 11/2012 to 10/2015
Staff: Mona Schönfelder-Beer
Environmental education and training (EE&T) has been on the EU agenda since the late ‘80s (Binstock, 2006). According to a 1988 Resolution of the Council on Environmental Education, the European Commission aimed to improve documentation on environmental education for teachers and pupils (European Union Conference on EE&T in Europe, 1999). During the past years emphasis in the EU has shifted from educating about nature to understanding the significance of sustainable development. Still, it was in 2006 that environmental education was explicitly linked to better protection of the environment, as well as to choice of green careers and gender equality in the science sector (Schauer, 2006). Still, school students often perceive science as uninteresting and non-related to everyday life. Disseminating effective enquiry-based best practices and training teachers to educate students of all ages, the project will contribute significantly to elevation of the number of sensitized citizens who support sustainable development through everyday actions.
The innovation of the proposed network lies within the connection of best practices from various European countries on environmental education and training, open to wide teacher communities which will then effectively provide green career counselling. The focus is on obtaining the skills necessary to be actively involved in the green jobs market (United Nations Environment Programme, 2008). What is more, the Declaration on Green Growth adopted on Ministerial Level (2009) by OECD underlines the significance of close co-ordination of green growth measures with labour market and human capital formation policies, to ensure development of green jobs and the respective skills. It is therefore apparent that the focus is on projecting environmental education and training as a respected and effective policy instrument to achieve sustainable development, as well as to increase interest among students on the green job sector.
In order to effectively connect science education to green career choices, a European approach to teacher training shall ensure high-level education of students. The proposed process will lead to a new approach in motivating and accelerating active participation in initiatives for the protection of the environment, directly linked to various school science subjects and to the future choice of career paths. Creating links between education, society and the world of business, students will be encouraged not only to study science but also to follow green careers.
The main objectives of GreeNET are:
- To provide meaningful life and career contexts to environmental education. By recognizing future skills’ needs, the focus is on tackling societal challenges like climate change and global warming, and ultimately on contributing in driving innovation forward. This shall be achieved through the collection of best practices on EE&T (WP2), to be made available to the European community of teachers through a specially developed repository (WP3).
- To establish a constantly-expanding network of teachers and school communities informed on the necessity of ‘green living and teaching’ and trained in effective use of digital resources in science teaching. This network shall operate as triggering factor for the mobilization of a large group of teachers to use the outcomes in a way that generates new ideas and innovative solutions, achieving extended awareness-raising on environmental issues (WP4).
- To stimulate effective approaches for access, exchange, usage, adaptation and incorporation of Environmental education content thus ensuring improved teaching and guidance of the pupils, and especially of educationally and socio-economically disadvantaged communities. The focus shall be on the examination of different implications instigated by environment-related aspects, leading to a rather spherical knowledge on the subject. This process shall lead to environment friendly, active and personally and professionally responsible future generations. This shall be achieved through WP6.
- To perform an extended validation of the project outcomes in a wide network across Europe, and to circulate effective science teaching methods through networking with relevant projects, networks and initiatives. This way, it will be certified that the collective knowledge on climate consequences leading to building of eco-conscience will be used after the 3-year circle of GreeNET. The “Roadmap towards Outstanding Environmental Education based on Enquiry-based Methodologies”, to be composed for this network, supports the deployment of Environmental educational content through constantly increasing access and re-usability of ‘green-jobs’ related lesson plans with use of enquiry-based science education (WP7).