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SPED 756 Special Education Leadership

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SPED 756 Special Education Leadership

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Course Code: SPED 756
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Why education is the key to sustainable development?

The report gives an insight into how education acts as the key to sustainable development. The United Nations General Assembly on the year 2015 took up an Agenda for the sustainable development. It represented a newer framework globally for redirecting humanity towards the sustainable path. The agenda represented seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) whose aim remained in securing a peaceful, sustainable, equitable and prosperous life on the earth. The goals also covered various global challenges necessary for survival of humanity. However, walking on the path towards sustainable development calls for deeper transformation of how people act and think. Thus, for creating a sustainable world and in engaging with the sustainability issue the individuals must first become the change makers of sustainability. Education acts as key for achieving sustainable development. This is because education empowers the people in taking responsible and informed decisions for the economic viability and environmental integrity for the present and the future generations. Education also aims at the development of the competencies that empowers the individuals in reflecting their actions while considering the current and the future cultural, social, environmental and economic impacts from not only the local but also the global perspective. The power of education also empowers individuals to act in a sustainable manner during the complex situations where they need to look out for newer directions. Education also acts as a motivating factor for the individuals who participate in the socio-political processes thereby helping the societies move towards the attainment of sustainability. The report discusses in detail about how education plays a vital role in sustainable development. 
Role of Education as the Key to Sustainable Development 
The year 2015 has been a remarkable year in the history of the world with most of international community aiming at adopting a global strategy for development and negotiating on a universal deal for combating the climate change (Lafferty and Eckerberg 2013). To ensure success, it became necessary for the policymakers in recognizing the global imperatives for the eradication of poverty and improvement of well being along with restoring the balance of the Earth. This only becomes achievable through means of education. The recognition for the importance of education is put forward by the Sustainable Developmental Goals (SDGs) that underpins the global efforts for next fifteen years (Griggs et al. 2013). In addition, the Article 6 of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) stipulated the need of pursuing public awareness, training and education. However, with the negotiations on the global agreements far from being complete, there should be enhanced emphasis on the reinforcement of education. The ministers of education should undertake the opportunities for highlighting the role of education that education has in the attainment of the sustainable development.
This is because a strong system of education broadens up the access to the opportunities, health improvement and in bolstering the resilience to the communities. Education builds the necessary skills that people requires for thriving in newer sustainable economy, working in areas such as smart agriculture, renewable energy, in designing resource efficient cities, sound management of the healthier eco system and forest rehabilitation (Lambrechts et al. 2013). Quality education also helps in living a healthier and longer life. The reason being the fact that education equips individuals in approaching health on informed and rational basis stripped completely off superstition. For instance, evidences from Indonesia pointed how education has acted as a strong predictor in determining the survival rate after the tsunami of 2004. Cuba also coped better with the hurricanes compared to Haiti since it had more educated citizens.
Education, the Driver of History 
It is observed that mass literacy led to a revolution in changing the course of the Europe through colonialism. Close to around five hundred years ago, the defining feature in the world inequality existed in those portions that had access to texts and schooling and made literacy possible (Sowell 2017). The tiny minority of the literate class were the men. In the Europe, the Muslim world and China close to ninety-nine percent people has been illiterate. Martin Luther, while rebelling against the Catholic order of Europe insisted on making literacy universal. The thought appeared fanatical since none other than Luther was able to imagine the economic benefit of education and literacy.
The impact of reformation of literacy was not immediate but it gradually started to spread its arms. By the year 1800, close to half of the European Protestant was illiterate (Moran 2014). However, by the year 1900, literacy and education neared universal. Japan eager for modernization replicated various aspects of the German system of education. The exceptional and educated population imparted brutality to the Japanese and British Empire. The private enterprise pioneered mass funding of the public for the secondary schooling. It was argued that the susceptibility of Germany in hands of Nazi was due to falling standards of secondary schooling compared to the counterparts.
Factors Enabling and Disenabling Education 
Modern technologies played a vital role in enabling education while its absence played a critical role in the evolution of the education. One such case was the technological suppression of the year 1485 that led to a ban on the printing (Irvine, Code and Richards 2013). This lasted over two centuries thereby throttling technology put forward by Luther’s revolution. This partly helps in explaining the reason behind the evolution of the Islamic Golden Age into the mass movement of education. Communism acted as one of the excellent promoters of the education that enabled economic takeoff. Thus, education always served as the protection against any existential threats. It not only helps the communities in understanding each other, weakening of rampant nationalism, assistance in the population control and widening the pool of talent that leads to innovation.
Role Played By Foreign Donors 
The annual cost estimate of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for plugging the gap of financing in bringing up schooling to lower secondary level to the children across the world has been lesser than one percent of spending of the United States and a tenth of what the  Qatar committed to World Cup of 2022. UNESCO also conducted pilot projects for better preparing young people and children in effectively tackling the challenges undertaken by an interdependent world (Gilmore and Comunian 2016).
UNESCO conducted lot of pilot projects for better preparing the young people and the children for effectively tackling the challenges for an interdependent world (Chabbott 2013). In this aspect, UNESCO’s Associated Schools Project Network (ASPnet) had a vital share in United Nations Decade for the Education for the Sustainable Development. In other words, the ASPnet has a key role in the pilot testing, implementation and the development of the ESD methods (Gouseti 2013). Education acts as the foundation for the sustainable development. It acts as the key instrument for bringing about changes in the attitudes, values, behavior, skills and lifestyle that is consistent with the sustainable development within and amongst the countries. The concept related to the sustainable development includes key areas like society, economy and the environment with the sole underlying dimension being the culture. The diversity, knowledge, language, values and the worldviews associated with the culture influences the manner in which Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is implemented in the national contexts. The ESD  represents a well established that empowers the learners in taking responsible actions and informed decisions for the economic viability, environmental integrity and a justifiable society for the future and the present generation (Engjellushe 2013). ESD also focuses on the development of the competencies that empowers the individuals in reflecting their actions thereby considering the current and the future of the cultural, economic, social and the environmental perspective.
Objectives of the Approach of Education for Sustainable Development 
Education for the sustainable development acts as the tool for addressable of the interlinked objectives that include:
Influence on Society: ESD ensured increasing the understanding of the social institutions and the role they have in the change and the development, promotion of the social justice, gender equality, democratic and participatory system and the healthcare (Karatzoglou 2013). 
Influence on Economy: ESD helped in the creation of sensitivity towards the limits and the potential of the economic growth, the impact on the society and the environment, sustainable and responsible consumption and the rural development (Lozano et al. 2013).
Influence on Environment: ESD also helps in increasing the awareness of resource and the fragility of physical environment, the influence of the human activity on environment, climate change, biodiversity and the environmental protection (Huckle and Wals 2015).
Thus, ESD is not just another concern or subject added to the formal system of education but involves a broader learning and teaching process encouraging a holistic and interdisciplinary approach that promotes creative and critical thinking in educational process.
Achievement over Past Decade 
The past decade witnesses significant progress in ESD and there are much that requires to be done for mainstreaming the ESD into every aspect of learning and education. The UNESCO report led to the identification of a number of formidable challenges faced by the ESD in entering the next decade and in addressing things. These include (Sterling 2013):

Closer coherence and alignment  across the sectors of education and the sustainable development
Political support for the institutionalization of the ESD for ensuring the implementation of the ESD on the systematic level
There should be more innovation, research, evaluation and monitoring on effectiveness of ESD and on adoption of the sustainability aspect of development as the core development paradigm.  

More Focus on Sustainable Development 
Largely ESD has been a separate component within the education system. In recent times it is however argued that the sustainable development requires an embedding within the main stream of disciplines at all the levels of the education. This however necessitates a systematic change for instance in the textbooks including math, science, social science, humanities and technology (Cebrián and Junyent 2015). Thus, ESD represents the larger efforts of the societies and the states for using the education as transformation agent. The different components of ESD includes civics, ethics, human rights education, peace education, critical thinking, skills for the cooperation and the education of global citizenship that  contributes to the education for a better peaceful and the sustainable world.
ESD and Economic Growth Aligned With Sustainable Development
The ESD policies should have an alignment with the policies at macro level. There is no point in supporting the ESD policies while pursuing the policies of economic growth that remains unsustainable (Buckler and Creech 2014). The approach of ESD  is considered a luxury during the times when there is availability of resources and substantial growth in the economy. It should however be noted that sustainable development is not an afterthought after the countries have already solved the problem of the basic need and reduction of poverty.
Necessity of a Better Pedagogy for ESD 
There existed the necessity of creation of newer pedagogies that remains aligned and is more suitable with the principles of sustainability. Sustainable development should therefore remain a part of the core literacy. The Global Action Program identified five areas of focus in following up with the decade of Education for Sustainable Development that have the potential for addressing certain challenges with strategic and careful designing (Boni and Walker 2013). These five areas include:

Advancement of policy
Integration of sustainability practices into the  training and education environment
Enhancement of the capacity of the trainers and educators
Mobilizing and Empowering the goals
Encouraging the  municipal authorities  and the local communities in developing the community based ESD programs

How ESD Can Help Attain Sustainable Development Goals 
ESD represents a transformational and holistic education that particularly addresses the learning outcomes and content, learning environment and pedagogy. Therefore, ESD not only integrates the contents of the poverty, climate change and the aspect of sustainable consumption into curriculum. In addition, it also helps in creating interactive, learner centered teaching and the settings for learning. ESD however asks for action orientated, transformative pedagogy that supported the self directed participation, learning, problem orientation, collaboration, and informal and formal learning (Le Blanc 2015). These educational approaches make it possible for developing the basic competencies required for the promotion of the sustainable development. Global recognition of the ESD acted as the sole means for the sustainable development that experienced a steady growth. The approach of ESD received acknowledgment at three global summits for the sustainable development. This included, the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) that took place in Rio de Janeiro; the World Summit on the Sustainable Development (WSSD) in 2002 that took place in Johannesburg; the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) in 2012 that took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The ESD approaches also have recognition in various other international agreements like the article 12 of the Paris Agreement. The United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development focused on integrating principles and practice of the sustainable development into every aspect of learning and education. This also aims at encouraging the change in value, attitudes and knowledge with the essence that enables a better sustainable and a justifiable society. The Global Action Programme (GAP) on the ESD endorsed by the 37th General Conference of UNESCO with an acknowledgment from the General Assembly Resolution of the UN and launched on November 12, 2014 at UNESCO World Conference in Aichi-Nagoya, Japan aimed at scaling the ESD thereby building on DESD.
ESD is recognized as a part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on the aspect of education along with the Global Citizenship Education (GCED) promoted by UNESCO as the complementary approach. ESD also plays a crucial role as a part of the sixteen SDGs (Hák, Janoušková and Moldan 2016). With the aim of development of cross cutting competency of sustainability amongst the learners, ESD acts as a vital contributor in all the efforts for  achieving SDGs thereby enabling the individuals in contributing to the sustainable development through the promotion of the societal, political and  economic change along with the transformation of their behavior. ESD ensures producing socio emotional, cognitive and behavioral outcomes for learning that enables the individuals in dealing with specific challenges of each of the SDG thereby enabling its achievement. Thus, in other words, ESD equips all individuals in contributing to the achievement of SDG through the required knowledge and competencies. This not only enables the individuals in understanding what SDGs consists off but also brings about required transformation as the informed citizens.
ESD also helps in developing cross cutting competencies for the attainment of sustainability that has relevance to all the SDGs (Sims and Falkenberg 2013). Education for sustainable development helps in the development of specific learning outcomes necessary for the achievement of a specific SDG. There however exists a general agreement that puts forward that the citizens of sustainability need to possess certain competencies that allows them in responsibly and constructively engaging with present day’s world. Competencies represent specific characteristics required by the individuals necessary for self-organization in varied complicated situations and contexts.
Thus, to conclude one can say that education plays a vital role in attaining sustainable development. ESD contributes to the achievement of the SDG through the development of cross cutting competencies of sustainability that are necessary for dealing with various sustainability challenges. Through ESD, learners are also equipped with specific learning outcomes in dealing with challenges. In order to make it possible for everyone in taking action in the support of SDGs, most educational institutions should consider in intensively dealing with the issues of sustainable development.
Boni, A. and Walker, M. eds., 2013. Human development and capabilities: Re-imagining the university of the twenty-first century. Routledge.
Buckler, C. and Creech, H., 2014. Shaping the future we want: UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development; final report. UNESCO.
Cebrián, G. and Junyent, M., 2015. Competencies in education for sustainable development: Exploring the student teachers’ views. Sustainability, 7(3), pp.2768-2786.
Chabbott, C., 2013. Constructing education for development: International organizations and education for all. Routledge.
Engjellushe, E., 2013. Education for sustainable development. European Journal of Sustainable Development, 2(4), pp.227-232.
Gilmore, A. and Comunian, R., 2016. Beyond the campus: higher education, cultural policy and the creative economy. International journal of cultural policy, 22(1), pp.1-9.
Gouseti, A., 2013. An overview of web-based school collaboration: a history of success or failure?. Cambridge Journal of Education, 43(3), pp.377-390.
Griggs, D., Stafford-Smith, M., Gaffney, O., Rockström, J., Öhman, M.C., Shyamsundar, P., Steffen, W., Glaser, G., Kanie, N. and Noble, I., 2013. Policy: Sustainable development goals for people and planet. Nature, 495(7441), p.305.
Hák, T., Janoušková, S. and Moldan, B., 2016. Sustainable Development Goals: A need for relevant indicators. Ecological Indicators, 60, pp.565-573.
Huckle, J. and Wals, A.E., 2015. The UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development: business as usual in the end. Environmental Education Research, 21(3), pp.491-505.
Irvine, V., Code, J. and Richards, L., 2013. Realigning higher education for the 21st century learner through multi-access learning. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 9(2), p.172.
Karatzoglou, B., 2013. An in-depth literature review of the evolving roles and contributions of universities to education for sustainable development. Journal of Cleaner Production, 49, pp.44-53.
Lafferty, W.M. and Eckerberg, K., 2013. From the Earth Summit to Local Agenda 21: working towards sustainable development. Routledge.
Lambrechts, W., Mulà, I., Ceulemans, K., Molderez, I. and Gaeremynck, V., 2013. The integration of competences for sustainable development in higher education: an analysis of bachelor programs in management. Journal of Cleaner Production, 48, pp.65-73.
Le Blanc, D., 2015. Towards integration at last? The sustainable development goals as a network of targets. Sustainable Development, 23(3), pp.176-187.
Lozano, R., Lozano, F.J., Mulder, K., Huisingh, D. and Waas, T., 2013. Advancing higher education for sustainable development: international insights and critical reflections.
Moran, J.A.H., 2014. The Growth of English Schooling, 1340-1548: Learning, Literacy, and Laicization in Pre-Reformation York Diocese (Vol. 751). Princeton University Press.
Sims, L. and Falkenberg, T., 2013. Developing competencies for education for sustainable development: A case study of Canadian faculties of education. International Journal of Higher Education, 2(4), p.1.
Sowell, T., 2017. Education: Assumptions versus history: Collected papers. Hoover Press.
Sterling, S., 2013. An analysis of the development of sustainability education internationally: Evolution, interpretation and transformative potential. In The sustainability curriculum (pp. 56-75). Routledge.

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