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How Important Is It To Introduce Sustainable Development Education In Schools?

What is now needed is a change in the collective mindsets towards sustainable development and growth.

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The biggest question many schools often ask is "What skills should students be provided with that will prepare them for the world they will enter into?"

The answer might seem simple but it is not. In today's rapidly changing workplace where skills are becoming redundant faster than ever it is pointless to teach very specific skills. Therefore setting mindsets and attitudes towards approaching problems along with strong foundational skills in Maths and language is the way to go. Children need to be taught how to be confident and prepared to face new challenges every day, constantly learn new skills and be able to work with other people to bring solutions to any problem.    

One of the larger challenges children will face is the need for the world to change to one where resources are limited and children will need to rethink the way in which growth is viewed.  Since the industrial age the world has prioritised growth and development over pretty much anything else. This has led to large problems such as global warming, loss of natural habitat and pollution at a scale which now poses a health risk. The problem becomes more bleak when one focusses on India which now house 7 of the 10 most polluted cities in the world. Water shortages are now more common than ever. These basic roadblocks will derail the journey for India to become a large economy and there must be a shift in mindset to get this done.   

What is now needed is a change in the collective mindsets towards sustainable development and growth. This will mean rewiring the very thought processes that drives our economic engine. The focus must be on materials and fuels that are easily available and do not have a large environmental cost. There needs to be a shift in consumer behaviour and consumer products to be more responsible towards the resources being used and protection of natural habitats and value them for the lifeblood they provide in the form of clean air and water.   

Following are the ways in which children can be taught about Sustainable Development:  

1) A proprietary citizenship program which is taught through the school life of a child. This program helps children understand their basic duties and obligations as a citizen of the world and sets the context for them as they move forward.  

2) All classrooms ensure that they practice sustainability i.e., teachers ensure each class understands the materials they are using, where they are coming from and options to reduce and rework how they use it.  

3)  Introduction to real life situations from trips to reforestation programs or factory floors to immerse them into real world situations.  

4)  Exemplify sustainability as an organisation in whatever is done as school management and show students that it is possible.   

The students of today are the citizens of tomorrow and they will be the agents of change. While the current generation is leaving them a country better than the one that was inherited from our parents, they too have created a host of problems. Therefore they must give them the tools to fix it. Thus a strong focus on sustainability is not only important but imperative in the schooling system. Let’s prepare children to face the world of tomorrow.   

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Rohan Parikh

The author is Director - The Green Acres Academy

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