The publication intends to guide readers on how to use education, and in particular ESD, in achieving the SDGs. It identifies learning objectives, suggests topics and learning activities for each SDG, and describes implementation on different levels from course design to national strategies. The document aims to support policy-makers, curriculum developers and educators in designing strategies, curricula and courses to promote learning for the SDGs. The document is not prescriptive in any way, but provides guidance and offers suggestions for learning topics and objectives that educators can select and adapt to fit concrete learning contexts.
Educators can use this text as a resource when developing training, textbooks, massive open online course (MOOCs) and exhibitions. It can help teachers or curriculum designers in formal educational institutions, trainers in professional capacity-building programmes, or NGO staff designing nonformal educational offers. Policy-makers may find it helpful to consider core ideas about learning objectives for the SDGs when developing education policies or strategies. For some, this guidance may provide an introduction to the SDGs, ESD, and competency oriented teaching and learning approaches in ESD. For others, the guide and recommended additional resources may deepen their understanding of these concepts. It can also be used to build on existing work in ESD and related areas such as global citizenship education, human rights education, environmental education and others.
Because the target group is diverse and possible uses of this guidance are manifold, the learning objectives, topics and activities for each SDG are outlined on a general level. As general guidance, they are not tailored for any specific learner age groups, learning settings or national/sociocultural context. They are designed to be relevant for all learners of all ages worldwide and to find their application in all sorts of learning settings, while in their concrete implementation they will, naturally, have to be adapted to the national or local context. For each learning objective, educators and curriculum developers must define the level to be achieved by their learners (e.g. from “basic” in primary education to “expertise” in tertiary education).
The learning objectives, topics and activities included in this guide should be viewed as general guidance; they are not exhaustive or definitive. While the learning objectives cover the necessary learning outcomes (including knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviour) to support the achievement of the SDGs and are intended to be generally applicable around the world, they convey core ideas only. They must therefore be complemented by appropriate locally-relevant topics, and updated regarding the new issues that constantly emerge in our rapidly changing world. Some of the content may already be covered in existing education programmes. In this case, this text can be used as a complementary resource, or as a reference when reviewing or seeking to strengthen existing programmes.
The core part of the document summarizes the key competencies for learners to develop in ESD and outlines indicative learning objectives, topics and pedagogical approaches for each of the 17 SDGs. Subsequently, a shorter section provides guidance on implementation at different educational levels and in various settings.