MAINTENANT announce support for Teach the Future
Teach the Future are preparing to reform the entire education system to address the climate crisis
Teach the Future are students campaigning for a complete reform of the education system to teach them the truth and prepare them for the future and we are fully behind them. We have spent the last 3 years building classroom resources and training courses which teach about the science behind sustainable development and giving children the answer to “WHY?” we have to develop a more sustainable future. We have recognised the ever-increasing need that teachers and schools have to address these urgent issues and bridge the knowledge gap. Teach the Future are currently crowdfunding to be able to address MP’s in a parliamentary room and drafting a bill to help them on their way. Their goals and ambitions for the UK education system are not only achievable but essential to the future prosperity of the UK.
Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is not a new concept. The UN and UNESCO have asked in 3 separate summits for governments to integrate it into their curricula. It is arguably at the core of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) and mentioned in Target 4.7 of SDG4. It seeks to ‘ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles…’ as well as exploring all the other SDGs.
However, the UK government have seemingly completely missed the point! If you view their plan for implementing the Sustainable Development Goals, ESD is not mentioned once. How can we, as a society, implement goals that nobody has been introduced to?
ESD is not just about inserting some key facts about the climate crisis into the curriculum. It has been recognised as empowering learners to take informed decisions and responsible actions for environmental integrity, economic viability and a just society, for present and future generations, while respecting cultural diversity*. As educators, we have a responsibility to prepare pupils for their lives after school, in their workplaces and in their everyday lives. Once understood, many teachers are keen to develop these skills in their pupils, recognising the real challenges and problems they face, but 75% believe they haven’t received adequate training to teach students about climate change.
Because the very nature of ESD is so holistic and promotes transformational education it makes absolute sense to urgently reform the education system to not just include it, but to have it at its very core. Students are becoming increasingly angry, and I use the angry in a very real way. If they are angry about the education they are receiving in their formative years, we should all sit up and take notice as this will not go away; resentment will grow and divide our society over time. This is the exact opposite of what needs to happen, of course, and we should encourage collaboration across the generations. Students are the future and they know it and they want to be able to fix it, but how can they when they are fed a narrow curriculum and taught to the test in order to fulfil constrictive and prescriptive formulas which feed into other people’s perceived success and pay packets? The system is broken, not fit for purpose and has to change! Eco-anxiety in teenagers is a real and growing phenomenon. No wonder there are school strikes – they have every right to strike and we are right with them! However, change is currently and unbelievably not even on the government's agenda.
There are a number of ways in which you can support the Teach the Future campaign including donating money, spreading the word via social media but also writing to your MP. All details of what they are calling for can be found on their website.
* Issues and trends in Education for Sustainable Development. 2018. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Paris