UNESCO trains teachers in Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (EPSD) in Myanmar

(Reposted from: UNESCO. November 13, 2023.)

By Emily De

“Education for Peace and Sustainable Development ultimately is not something to be learned, but something to live with.”

UNESCO EPSD Trainer

In just 14 months—or since September 2022—174 educators, student teachers, curriculum developers, and school administrators (over 70% of them women) have completed capacity-building training in Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (EPSD), which was hosted by the UNESCO Antenna Office in Yangon. That impressive number, to date, reflects a key UNESCO principle: in fostering a more sustainable and peaceful world through education, teachers play a central role. With this in mind, UNESCO’s EPSD training aims to support teachers in raising their awareness of the subject, and in building the competencies of teachers and educational practitioners in EPSD in Myanmar. 

The five online modules of the self-paced course provide key resources and guidance on what defines EPSD, what constitutes EPSD competencies, why and how to integrate peace and sustainability lessons and extracurricular activities in curricula, and how to implement a ‘whole school’ approach. The training sessions also provided participants with opportunities to exchange information and ideas with both the trainer and their fellow learners, and to receive direct feedback from the trainer on their assignments.

Upon completing the course and receiving their certificate, teachers were given the opportunity to enrich their experience and engage in even deeper learning through either virtual or in-person training by a UNESCO EPSD specialist.

The training emphasizes the role of schools in promoting good practices and in serving as learning environments for sustainability. Speaking of the potential application of the knowledge he gained from his training, a teacher from a community school from Kayah State commented,

“I educate my students on responsible practices such as reusing blank sheets, turning off lights when not needed, and fostering the separation of recyclable and compostable waste., I also employ approaches which encompasses project-based learning, field studies, and service learning to train them collaborative and responsible agent for their community.”

As EPSD fosters implementation which is locally relevant and culturally appropriate, it encourages teachers to take into close consideration their local environmental, economic, and societal conditions, as well as the potential for commitment and participation of their community. A student teacher who joined the in-person training in Yangon noted,

“A new thing that I have learned from this EPSD workshop is the Whole School Approach. I learned that the content must be relevant to the local context so that students can practice what they learn in daily life. School must not be only for students, but also for their society. In school activities, society can participate in some parts. Society itself must also be a school for students so they can learn easily how to save the rainwater, how to recycle things, and so forth. I really appreciate the teacher of this course for linking how teaching plans can affect students’ lives, and the life of the nation.”

A principal from a monastic school from Ayeyarwady Division also testified how she will apply EPSD in her school, stating, 

“I will organize EPSD-related training for school administration and teachers and will encourage the practice of the four pillars of EPSD—environment, society, economics, and culture—in our daily teaching and related practices in schools.”

Transforming the way one thinks and acts is an integral part of the journey towards a sustainable world, and teachers play a vital role in inculcating the competencies needed to get there. UNESCO remains committed to supporting local teachers and educators in their building on their existing capacities, and the continual enhancing of their professional EPSD development. EPSD training has facilitated teachers’ obtaining a solid foundation in sustainability to deal with the world’s constant changes by helping teachers impart to their students the knowledge, skills, and values they need to achieve sustainability, and to inspire young learners to take action, as real ‘change agents’, in their daily lives. 

For access to EPSD resources and online courses, visit the UNESCO Myanmar Teacher Platform.

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