The forum is being held under the National Strategy on Education for Sustainable Development (2014-2020) and will focus on sustainable development goal 4, the objective of which is that by 2030 all learners will have acquired the knowledge and skills to promote sustainable development.
Minister Mitchell O’Connor said: “This important forum today provides a platform for us to showcase and celebrate exemplars of quality, excellence and innovation in Education for Sustainable Development within the Irish education system. It will allow us to listen to and share our knowledge of, and vision for educating future generations towards the creation of a sustainable world and to meet the 2030 SDG targets”.
Minister Mitchell O’Connor welcomed Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland who is giving the keynote address to the forum saying that: “It is truly a great privilege Mary to have you here with us today to share your wisdom and inspire our young.”
The aim of the National Strategy on Education for Sustainable Development is to ensure that education contributes to sustainable development by equipping learners with the relevant knowledge (the ‘what’), the key dispositions and skills (the ‘how’) and the values (the ‘why’) that will motivate and empower them throughout their lives to become informed active citizens who take action for a more sustainable future. The Minister referenced a number of actions already being taken by the Department and other bodies in this regard.
Other speakers at the forum include the Department of Children and Youth Affairs on access to quality education at early years level (SDG 4.2), the Department of Education and Skills on inclusion in the Irish education system (SDG 4.5), Jack O’Connor, UN Youth Ambassador on sustainable development and global citizenship (SDG 4.7), a number of representative schools on different aspects of sustainable development and the Central Statistics Office on the development of a central Irish SDG portal to map data on the implementation of SDG targets.
As we near the end of the lifetime of the current strategy in 2020, the forum also allows reflection on progress made under the National Strategy on Education for Sustainable Development and to facilitate discourse about future direction post 2020 and towards 2030.