Education for sustainable development: hopes and misunderstanding.

We can’t exactly predict our future. This uncertainty doesn’t let us to know what skills we should have to adequately struggle against problems of tomorrow. Humanity has already realized that these problems won’t be easy to deal with and is in the search for optimal solutions yet today. Second half of the last century was marked by avalanche of economic, political and ecological problems that raise a question of reforming the whole civilization’s principles of existing.
Society gradually realized the connection between social-economic development and solution of ecological problems.
Thus, at the UN conference on Environment and development (Rio-de-Janeiro, 1992) a Concept of Sustainable Development was applied in order to solve the problems of today and the future. Topicality of this concept grows in the context of today’s processes of globalization - spontaneous development of society becomes dangerous.  The way to the sustainable development is harmonization of social relations, moral improvement of people, reforming of the human personal qualities on the base of humanistic ideals.
Sustainable Development should also be characterized by economic efficiency, ecologically safe technologies and social justice. Main criteria for such development are total safety and high standards of living.

The Concept of Sustainable Development combines economic, ecological, social and cultural aspects and demonstrates their connection and interdependency. It’s also important that this concept exposes regularities in functioning of social-natural systems and grounds interests and perspectives not only of current generations, but also future ones, accenting its attention on the strong connection between society and nature. Problems that faced humanity in last decades impress with their difficulty and possibility to cause global cataclysms. The main question of today is how to deal with them.
In order to solve problems one must possess certain skills and abilities, but which skills and abilities should humanity possess in order to solve the problems of today and prevent their appearance tomorrow? Some of us say that education is a matter of educational institutions, they are many, and so there’s nothing to worry about. But there’s another opinion – yes, educational system is highly developed and so on, but the quality of its education isn’t modern enough and certainly wouldn’t be that in future. We must admit that such opinion is pretty objective. Signs of crisis in educational system revealed themselves in the beginning of the twentieth century. Reasons are many, but the most important is the conservatism of educational system. Main principles of education haven’t have changed during centuries and thus hasn’t changed the essence of education – transfer of knowledge from teacher to student.  With such approach the education was totally dependent on erudition and skill of the teacher.

Our education is mass. There are 20 and more students per class room. It’s understandable, that these students have different capability and psychic characteristics. The thing is that new information and knowledge is generated with a great speed today. That rises a serious obstacle – how to achieve efficient knowledge transfer on the base of conservative methods of education and considering the different capability and psychic characteristics of students. This task is very hard to achieve. In the time of comparatively slow development of science and society old methods of education was rather effective. We live in informational era when knowledge and information is like avalanche and man can’t know everything and posses the whole information. Therefore, we must acquire such knowledge, experience and skills that will be up-to-date not only today but in future.

Summit on Sustainable Development (Johannesburg, 2012) has shown that solution for the problems of modern society and creation of the sustainable future is dependent not mostly on the development of science and technologies, but on the world outlook of society and personal qualities of people.   Main goals of transition to sustainable development are:

-    Preservation of social harmony on global and regional levels
-    Forming of the sustainable development culture on all levels
-    Reforming of the educational system

Achievement of the sustainable development requires:

-    Political system involving every man in the decision making, law system that would be based on the principles of civil society (requires developed system of education);
-    Economy system that would be oriented on resource-intensive production and fair distribution (requires resource-intensive technologies);
-    Social system that would provide harmony of civil relations (education and respect to the cultural traditions must become an essential part of governmental policy);
-    International system promoting a sustainability of communicative, trade and financial links;
-    Educational system providing professional competence and high personal qualities;

Mentioned requirements are essentially necessary for the transformation of modern society. Education was always determinative for moral, scientific and practical development of society.
You can find the whole version of article in our magazine “Ekologiya xabarnomasi – Ecological herald”, №5
Author: A.Azizov  {jcomments on}