Communication for Sustainable Development

Education for sustainable development: a new focus for the ETF in the East

European Training FoundationImage via WikipediaIncluding the dimension of sustainability in the analysis of development of human capital would benefit countries neighbouring the European Union, according to the European Training Foundation (EFT). With this in mind, the EFT has just hosted a two-day meeting, which brought together experts from the Netherlands and specialists in sustainability education from Belarus, Ukraine and Kyrgystan. Arne Baumann, the ETF’s chief expert in the field, said that, “with its expertise in vocational education and training, the ETF is in a good position to introduce a holistic approach to sustainable development in education.”
Some of the EFT’s key activities include promoting competences for sustainable development in vocational education and training, and developing indicators to help countries assess their situation and plan. In Belarus, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan, the ETF has already started a pilot project aimed at developing a set of indicators to measure the "sustainability" of vocational education. With the help of these indicators, the ETF plans to identify levels of progress in integrating sustainability into vocational education in selected countries. It should also be a step towards fostering a broader debate about education for sustainable development in countries surrounding the European Union.On this issue,Jens Johansen, a quantitative analyst at the ETF, said: "Our indicators are not about ranking countries or measuring situation in absolute terms. They are process indicators, helping you find out where you are in the process, what the ideal stage is, what the goal is, and how to get there. It’s a starting point for a debate." According to Arjen Wals, an expert in education for sustainable development who also took part in the conference: "Education is important because it can develop capacities, competencies, skills that people need to respond to environmental crises, to work collaboratively as humans toward a more liveable society". Yet, he admits that while education alone cannot solve the problem, using it in combination with appropriate legislation can "create a more emancipatory, human approach that can coincide together". The European Training Foundation (ETF) is an agency of the European Union established to contribute to the development of the education and training systems of the EU partner countries. With an annual budget of €18 million, its mission is to help transition and developing countries to harness the potential of their human capital through the reform of education, training and labour market systems in the context of the EU's external relations policy

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