ROLE OF EDUCATION IN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
By NJOKA John Nyaga, Kenya. (email@example.com)
Sustainable development is that development which will meet the present needs of the community without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Environmental education involves among other things the provision of information, recognizing values, clarifying concepts etc in order to develop skills and attitudes that enable the community to understand and appreciate the relationship between their cultures and their physical surroundings.
At international fora, attempts have been made to promote environmental education. In the year 1975 in Belgrade, the program for international environmental education was started followed by the conference in Tsibilisi in 1977, Nevada 1979, Moscow 1987, ….. Since then the council of European countries has twice called on member countries to advance on environmental education in all sectors of education.
There is required a dominant policy to ensure that the findings of research on environmental science are properly applied to ensure that the world is safe for further development with no further destruction of the natural resources.
It is therefore necessary to involve the players in political, economic and cultural sectors in designing environmental programs. By doing this, we will notice that all these players have turned environmentalists and we can expect a conflict of interest of style in the approach of environmental matters. This is because sustainable development is a contested territory with its ownership disputed by forces with very diverse interests.
Its thus difficult to foresee any slackening of the effort on those who will continue to impose development to suit their ends invoking “modernity, national integration, economic growth and other slogans” (Adams 1990, p199). With challenges as these, education is a must in order to bring these interests groups together and come up with sound policy on sustainable development, infact one that is conscious of future needs.
OBSTACLES TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
There are various obstacles to sustainable development which include:- 1. Lack of awareness on issues involved,
2. Political unacceptability of obvious steps forward,
3. Opposition by groups with vested interests,
4. Inadequacy of institutional mechanism for integrating environment and development.
To overcome these obstacles, there is a feeling among many groups that there is a need to replace the ideas and values that underlie the complex and visible obstacles with a new approach and reshaping of ideas and values. To do this we need not just a modification, but a total revolution of our thinking. This can well be achieved through a well-designed education approach.
ROLE OF EDUCATION
Education plays a major role in enhancing people’s awareness about bio-diversity conservation as well as sustainable development. It leads to actualization of conservation knowledge and skills which in turn help in broadening people’s knowledge about conservation, thus making them functional members of the society.
Education will enlighten stakeholders on various issues relating to sustainable development and bio-diversity conservation. Also education will sensitize them to participate fully in campaigns against any act or development that threaten future sustainability.
Consequently, education empowers stakeholders to take increasing charge of their own developments as key ingredients combined with a clear knowledge of environmental constraints and of requirements to meet basic needs. This enables people to understand their need for and importance of biodiversity for now and in the future. It is this education which will enable us realise that sustainable development confronts not just society, but each of us at the heart of his or her purpose. It invites us to give practical support to the values of social equity,...
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