9.4 Raising awareness about global issues
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Education for sustainable development (Éducation au développement durable - EDD) has become an indispensable mission of the school but also of extra-curricular structures.
The Charter for Education of Sustainable Development (Interministerial Committee for Education for Sustainable Development et al., 2021, p. 6-10) is a key initiative to raise awareness about global issues by promoting global education. The charter defines objectives and quality criteria for educational activities in the field of sustainable development in formal, non-formal or informal education.
Objectives and quality criteria are as follows:
- Promote and develop the critical and independent thinking skills of participants to educate responsible citizens of judging and acting regarding natural and human environment
- Ensure consistency between the methods used and the transmitted messages
- Respect the complexity of the issues addressed
- Train the participants in the methods and themes of Education of Sustainable Development
- Work closely with the host leader of the proposed activity
- Implement a transparent process of self-evaluation including the different actors.
The public and non-public institutions that have adopted the charter commit to orienting their offers in accordance with these objectives and quality criteria.
The web page bne.lu, launched in 2012, includes information on Education of Sustainable Development. The website is operated by the Collaborative Luxembourgish Cooperation Circle of Development NGOs (Cercle de coopération des ONG de développement). It aims at conferring better visibility to NGOs, giving them the possibility to present their educational activities in a database. The website also serves as a platform of information and exchange between community life, educational community, young people and the general public. It offers an Overview of existing governmental and non-governmental organisations active in the domains of education related to environment, development, citizenship promoting solidarity economy or world citizenship.
Within the framework of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development 2005-2014, a National Strategy of Education of Sustainable Development has been published in 2011 by the government of Luxembourg. This national strategy, which covers the period from 2011 to 2015 aims at:
- Creating networks between the actors
- Fostering their cooperation
- Integrating education of sustainable development into the school system (at all levels and in all educational settings, formal and non-formal)
- Installing a monitoring and evaluation system of the implementation of the strategy
- Integrating the strategy on a political and administrative level.
According to the national strategy, education of sustainable development should be integrated into the initial training of teaching and educational staff, as well as into their on-going training, with a view to having these important multipliers acquire the competences requested.
The strategy aims at fostering global education. Education of sustainable development is understood as the teaching of values: respect for others, of actual and future generations, respect of difference and diversity, of the environment and natural resources of our common planet.
As mentioned above, the national strategy on sustainable development aims at including sustainable development education into the initial and continuous training of teachers and educational staff for them to acquire the necessary competences to disseminate the message.
However, by the end of 2022, global issues are not compulsory in school curricula of upper-secondary level education and are only dealt with occasionally in secondary schools, in the framework of school projects (projet d'établissement). Some schools have chosen to focus on environment and sustainable development issues in their projects. These concerns come far behind other fields such as transversal competences and interdisciplinarity, vocational guidance, opening to the outside world, internal communication, etc.
Starting from the school year 2023/24, a new section on politics and sustainable development will function in the classical secondary education of the Lyceum Athénée (Ministry of Education, Children and Youth, 2023). The focus will be on international relations, as well as geopolitics and economic and social sciences.
Other providers for pupils or school classes aiming at increasing the awareness on global issues include:
- Ecological centres (Centre de découverte de la forêt 'Burfelt' in Insenborn, Centre d'accueil 'Ellergronn' in Esch/Alzette, Centre d'accueil 'A Wiewesch' in Manternach, Centre d'accueil 'Mirador' in Steinfort, 'Biodiversium' in Remerschen) offer activities for school classes (provided and funded by the Ministry of Environment, Climate and Sustainable Development). Most of the offers are designed for primary school pupils, but some are also for secondary school pupils
- Regional infrastructures providing opportunities for teachers to organise activities with their classes in the framework of 'green classrooms' (Classes vertes) (e.g. the House of Nature [Centre de protection de la nature 'Haus vun der Natur'], operated by natur & ëmwelt in cooperation with the City of Luxembourg; the Nature School Lasauvage (Naturschoul Lasauvage), operated by the municipality of Differdange or the Natural Park of Our (Naturpark Our), operated by the municipalities Clervaux, Kiischpelt, Parc Hosingen, Putscheid, Tandel, Troisvierges and Vianden).
The School Futures Project aims at developing learning concepts, methods and materials for future-oriented systems thinking in class or interdisciplinary project work with engaged students and teachers. Through the participatory creation of images of the future and concrete school projects, the project intends to show how teaching and learning must change so that future generations are fit for the future. In doing so, it creates a creative space to experiment with future-proof teaching approaches and content. Three secondary schools are participating in the pilot project.
Further initiatives help promoting young people's knowing and understanding of global issues, such as cultural offers and exhibitions on global issues. For example, the exhibition 'on water' aims at raising awareness on the limited natural resources and the vulnerability of the planet. The exhibition is open for school classes.
The 'Food4Future' concept intends to change the eating habits of students in canteens to reduce the impact on the environment and to raise awareness of sustainable food. It has been implemented in all Luxembourgish school and university canteens.
The promotion of knowledge or understanding of global issues is addressed by the national framework of non-formal education (MENJE & SNJ, 2021). It defines sustainable development as an action field of open youth work, where young people are encouraged and sensitised to work responsibly for the preservation of the environment. Within the framework of environmental education projects and activities in youth work, young people's knowledge about ecological issues, sustainable development and environmental policy is broadened. This also includes awakening young people's interest in economic, political and social issues as well as in technological and scientific developments and offers them opportunities to participate. Young people are encouraged to take personal responsibility to question habits and change their own lifestyles and consumption habits if necessary. Non-formal learning initiatives are provided by the National Youth Service but also by non-governmental organisations.
The Youth Centre in Hollenfels (Centre de jeunesse Hollenfels), operated by the National Youth Service, focuses on non-formal education in sustainable development. The centre offers activities and training programmes for teachers and school classes and other interested groups. Working methods of the centre are characterised by an active, cooperative and participative approach. The activities include for instance geological excursions with a focus on the exploration of rocks and stones or excursions to risk regions for raising awareness of the causes of flooding.
The Luxembourgish Scout Movement is another important provider of non-formal education, especially on environmental issues.
- The FNEL Scout organisation (Fédération nationale des éclaireurs et éclaireuses du Luxembourg) operates the Youth Training Centre Misärshaff (Centre de formation jeunes 'Misärshaff'), which has received the environment label (Scout Centre of Excellence for Nature and Environment, SCENES) of the World Organisation of the Scout Movement. This means that the centre is committed to protecting the environment and promoting environmental understanding. The seminar centre consists of 3 buildings and a large campground. It is open to members of recognized associations of world guide and scout movements as well as to all recognized associations of young people
- The LGS Scout organisation (LGS; Lëtzebuerger Guiden a Scouten) is also in charge of a SCENES youth training centre where it offers different training programmes and activities on environmental issues (Centre de formation et d'animation 'Neihaischen') (such as outdoor-kitchen or hike and discovery of wild herbs).
The two NGDOs of the scout associations (NGDO Guides and Scouts for a World; ONGD Guiden a Scouten fir eng Welt; NGDO-FNEL scouts & guides; ONGD-FNEL scouts & guides) also offer activities in Luxembourg to inform and sensitise young people to the issues of development aid. The NGDO Guides and Scouts for a World offers workshops and ateliers for scout groups and school classes on the topics of children's rights, sustainable development, tolerance, and peace. The aim of the educational offers is to explain to children and young people the connections between North and South in a global world. The activities of the NGDO-FNEL scouts & guides mostly involve around its partner country Nepal and include online games, educational suitcases with materials or workshops on children's rights.
The Climate Alliance of Luxembourg (Klima-Bündnis Lëtzebuerg), coordinated by two NGOs, Ecological Movement (Mouvement écologique) and Solidarity Initiative (astm; Action solidarité Tiers Monde), combines environmental and educational work with policy and with the support of solidarity projects in the southern regions of the world. Its objective is to achieve an integrated environmental and development policy. Climate Alliance contributes to awareness-raising in children and young people by offering various events and supplies, for instance: exhibitions, adventure bags, campaigns, teaching materials and workshops. In 2022 the Climate Alliance organised for example the "Conscious City Walks" in Esch/Alzette, the European Capital of Culture 2022 and the "Greenweek-Rallye" in a secondary school, where pupils dealt with issues of sustainability, globalisation and climate crisis.
Another initiative is the Centre for Ecological Learning Luxembourg (CELL), founded in 2010 and launched in 2011. This non-profit organisation creates a space for experiencing lifestyles with a low impact on environment and for learning the skills that enable to live in post-carbon communities (for instance urban gardening projects or 'facilitec' - space for circular economy).
The 'Ëmwelt- & Bildungszentrum Matgesfeld', founded in 2017, is a project by the municipality of Sanem with the help of the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth, which aims to raise awareness about global issues. The centre houses a Nature School and an Environmental Education Centre. The Nature School offers educational activities to primary and secondary classes, groups of children from care and education facilities and other interested parties. The Environmental Education Centre provides training in education for sustainable development for teachers and educators, as well as training in preparation for the group activities organised in the Nature School.
There is a large variety of activities available for teaching and educational staff which are provided by NGOs and the state. As an example of the growing importance of the topic in the national agenda, the 2023 national conference on non-formal education in the youth sector focused on eco-responsibility and the importance for the youth sector. A compilation of actors in the field of education of sustainable development (Recueil des acteurs de l'Éducation au Développement Durable) gives an overview of the existing educational offers. Proposed by various NGOs and focusing on different topics in relation to global issues, the activities presented in this compilation specifically address secondary school teachers.
Solidarity Initiative is the main provider of activities concerning development education for young people but also for educators working with young people (e.g. in schools, youth centres). An example of these activities is the project "ateliers des cultures" which aims at raising awareness among children, young people and adults to the cultures of the South.
A documentation centre on development cooperation (CITIM; Centre d'information Tiers Monde), operated by astm, offers instructional materials on the North-South divide for educators and organises workshops to sensitise children and young people on global citizenship (see: Pedagogical offers on global learning). It is funded by the state's budget and donations.
Information campaigns on global issues are mainly provided by NGOs jointly with public authorities.
The documentation centre on development cooperation (CITIM; Centre d'information Tiers Monde) provides different offers that aim at informing young people about global issues (for example, authors' readings and workshops).
In 2022, the third edition of the fair on sustainable development education took place. It was organised in joint collaboration by the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth and the Ministry of the Environment, Climate and Sustainable Development. The fair aims at bringing together government departments, schools and NGOs to present their offers of activities and educational materials on sustainable development (democracy, climate, human rights, gaming, nature, among others). Furthermore, it offers opportunities for networking; it brings stakeholders in the sector into contact with teachers, educational staff and other multipliers.
The website www.bne.lu aims at conferring a better visibility to NGOs. It gives them the opportunity to present their educational activities in a well-structured database which lists all governmental and non-governmental organisations active in the following domains: environmental education, development education, citizenship education promoting solidarity economy or world citizenship (bne.lu/organisations). The website also provides an overview of activities offered by the different organisations (bne.lu/activites).
The Collaborative Luxembourgish Cooperation Circle of Development NGOs (Cercle de coopération des ONG de développement) publishes a list of NGOs active in development education in Luxembourg. It provides information on their activities and on volunteering opportunities.
The Voluntary Agency (Agence du Bénévolat) provides information on volunteering opportunities in different fields of sustainable development action in Luxembourg.
The initiative 'fair politics', founded in 2012, is coordinated by the Collaborative Luxembourgish Cooperation Circle of Development NGOs (Cercle de coopération des ONG de développement). The facebook site provides information about human rights and different issues on development aid policy (e.g. migration, agriculture, climate policy, tax justice).
The 'Collective Tax Justice Luxembourg' was initiated following the Luxleaks revelations. The collective brings together citizens calling for a public debate that questions the usefulness, legitimacy and qualities of the abusive exploitation of aggressive tax planning in Luxembourg. Beyond questions of tax policy, the collective also intends to tackle the issue of the excessive dependency of Luxembourg's economy on the financial sector, as well as the impact of the financial centre on real estate speculation, the competitiveness of small- and medium-sized enterprises and income inequality.
The government published a leaflet (S'engager avec la Coopération au développement et de l'Action humanitaire) containing information on the opportunities available for young people to participate in humanitarian aid and international solidarity projects, such as the Voluntary Cooperative Service, the Volunteering Programme of the United Nations or the programme of the junior professional officers at the United Nations Agencies.