By Farooq Shah
GULMARG- A three-day workshop on “Sustainability in schools and SDG 4.7” organised by the Pune-based Bharati Vidyapeeth deemed University, Institute of Environment Education and Research (BVIEER), in collaboration with ESD Expert Net, India, and Engagement Global concluded at the historic Golf Club in the picturesque Gulmarg meadow here today.
The School Leadership Academy (SLA) of the J&K State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) partnered with BVIEER to organise the event.
Scores of principals, teacher educators, resource persons from various schools across the J&K UT besides academic officers from both the SCERTs—Jammu and Kashmir—participated in the event.
Giving details of the program, Prof Shamita Kumar, said the United Nations established 17 sustainability development goals in September 2015 that demand urgent action from all nations, including India.
“Of these 17 SDGs, Goal 4 focuses on ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting opportunities for lifelong learning for everyone,” Prof Shamita said. “The purpose of SDG 4.7 is to provide learners with the information and skills necessary to realise all of the SDGs.”
The earliest date for achieving these objectives, she said, has been established as the year 2030.
Prof. Shamita stated that the interactive SDG model has prepared the path for easy implementation, making it result-oriented, as opposed to the top-down method used in the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) of 2015, in which the listed goals were not completely achieved by the member nations.
Niti Aayog—the apex public policy think tank of the Government of India, she added has been comprehensively documenting and ranking the progress made by States and Union Territories towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Prof Shamita said the ESD Expert Net combines experts from different educational fields into a global partnership.
“ESD Expert Net India is a consortium of professionals drawn from government, academia, civil society from four nations, namely Germany, India, South Africa, and Mexico, where the goal was to orient educators to environmentalize textbooks,” she said. “Through its functionaries—in the instance of the J&K UT, the SCERT—we collaborate closely with state and union territory governments.”
Ms. Samruddi Patwardhan, programme officer, BVIEER, supported Prof. Shamita through her digital presentations, YouTube documentaries and in-class activities, assisting the participants in understanding the subtleties of the SDGs.
The participants benefited from a documentary about the work of the National Green Corps in Maharashtra, where students from various schools made important contributions to the cause of the environment and the preservation of the delicate ecosystem of several communities in the state.
The audience was enthralled to learn how one person’s efforts propelled a global movement toward protecting the ecological interests of some 180 nations in the “inside story of the Paris Climate Agreement,” which is available on YouTube and features a lecture by Costa Rican diplomat Christiana Figueres. The 2015 Paris Agreement, widely seen as a historic accomplishment, was the result of Ms. Figueres’ efforts to reconstruct the international climate change negotiation process.
According to Ms. Samruddi, a number of footprints are recognised as being crucial to sustainability and sustainable development.
“These recognised footprints of Carbon (CF), Water (WF), Environmental (ENF), Nitrogen (NF) F, Phosphorus (PF), Biodiversity (BF), and Land (LF) have been described in detail.” she said.
She claimed that efforts are being made on a global scale to lessen these footprints with the introduction of what she called “handprints.”
As Ms. Samruddi said, “We’re encouraging students to get involved in volunteer work and help the stakeholders learn how to maximize the impact of handprints.”
The participants were separated into five groups and asked to create different sustainability models showing how handprints would lessen the impact of various footprints.
Prof. Shamita anticipated that the SLA, J&K, would be able to create a model for sustainability schools that suited local needs after the workshop.
Nodal Officer SLA, J&K, Dr. Fayaz Ahmad Bhat, stated that the five models developed during the workshop would be contextualised following proper documentation and applied throughout all of the J&K UT’s districts.
“We have been working relentlessly for the past year to instill leadership qualities among the heads of institutions throughout the Union Territory with the purpose of preparing them for facing the problems of sustainability,” Dr. Fayaz remarked. “The workshop at hand will go a long way in developing their capacities and allow them to put the knowledge gained in perspective.”
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