ECES, Goteborg Papers

Goteborg Workshop Papers

Workshop December 7-9, 2005
Holmberg, J. and Samuelsson, B. (Eds) (2006) Drivers and Barriers for Implementing Sustainable Development in Higher Education, Unesco Education for Sustainable Development in Action Technical Paper No. 3

Workshop March 27-29 2006

Björenloo, I., and Nyberg, E. (Eds) (2007) Drivers and Barriers for Learning for Sustainable Development in Pre-School, School and Teacher Educucation, UNESCO Education for Sustainable Development in Action Technical Paper No. 4

Workshop May 2-4 2007

Pramling Samuelsson, I and Kaga, Y. (Eds.) (2008) The Contribution of Early Childhood Education to a Sustainable Society, Paris, UNESCO

Workshop October 11–13 2007

Havström, M., Magnusson, K., and Ottosson, P. (Eds) (2007) The Right to Knowledge: Public Learning for Sustainable Development, Laboratory for Democratic Learning, Gothenburg

3 thoughts on “Goteborg Workshop Papers”

  1. A speculative, and entirely personal, reflection on one aspect of these workshop papers:

    Re. Sustainable Development vs Education for Sustainable Development
    To my mind, it may not be helpful to consider ‘Sustainable development’ as in any way fundamentally separate from ‘ education for sustainable development’. As participants at the March 1996 Workshop noted, ESD “focuses on the learning process in or for a sustainable society.”(p14). But we mustn’t forget that it also focuses on learning ‘products’ as well. I believe ESD is something we can very usefully define in general globally relevant terms. There are certainly non-trivial challenges involved in this and it seems to me that the first must be to ensure that the minority (rich) world don’t dominate the process. If we are to achieve it, it will be important to keep reminding ourselves that what constitutes an appropriate ESD ‘practice’ in one national context will inevitably be quite different from that appropriate (at a particular historical, social, cultural juncture) in another national context. The top priority for ESD in many majority world contexts is clearly child survival – next comes basic literacy and the need to achieve gender equality (not least in support of literacy). We don’t need to re-invent any ‘wheels’ on this, we only need to look at the UN/UNESCO/UNICEF documentation of the ‘Education for All’ initiative. As Nyberg and Sund suggest “The pluralism of perspectives is a vast resource if they are made visible”( Björneloo and Nyberg, p15). One very positive way forward might be to open up greater communication between majority and minority world practitioners and between children. There is also potential here for developing some really interesting partnerships (e.g. school twinning) – where European children could e.g. learn about recycling etc from African children’s practical everyday experience… For this to work of course it would be very important to avoid patronism while promoting/celebrating the African resourcefulness and innovations strongly – it is all too easy to reinforce the false notions of cultural superiority held by many in the minority world – cross-cultural attitudes are really important.

    Internationally the really BIG issue is for nations to accept that any economic/ technological/ socio-cultural systems they employ to solve local problems do not make other nations less sustainable. Some people believe that capitalism (and capitalist globalisation) inescapably does this – others that globalisation opens up the possibility of developing greater appreciation and respect for difference so that the outcome is therefore not automatically one of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. My own view is pragmatic – there has to be a ‘third way’ – as I see it, all that pessimism gives you is paralysis – and ‘complacency is passive complicity’ (as Koestler put it). Jonathon Porritt comes from a rather different perspective but comes to pretty much the same conclusions (See also some responses).



  2. Sustainability in the third world conjures a very different image than that in the first world. Turning off the lights to conserve energy, buying items with recyclable packaging and taking showers rather than baths to reduce water usage remain foreign ideas to those who have limited or no access to electricity, consumable items and water. For young children in countries, like Zambia, sustainability does not immediately equate to saving the earth but rather to basic survival. The Zambian Demographic and Health Survey (2001-2002) indicate that one in six Zambian Children die before their 5th birthday.


  3. If you accept the jist of James Lovelock’s Gaia argument then any distinction between “saving the planet” and “basic survival” becomes meaningless in any case. The common concern for all of us is basic survival and we don’t really need to save the planet – it’s quite capable of looking after itself (even if it might have to get rid of humanity to achieve that).


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