An Expert Review Disowned

Posted in: New Publications

Hot on the heels of UNESCO's UK funding problems comes a report from UNESCO in Paris: Education for Sustainable Development: an expert review of processes and learning

Its Preface says:

"... UNESCO has commissioned this expert review on processes and learning for Education for Sustainable Development.  This publication endeavors to identify which commonly accepted learning processes are aligned with ESD and should be promoted through ESD-related programmes and activities. It also seeks to examine which learning opportunities contribute to sustainable development.  I hope that this well researched and reader-friendly publication will contribute to develop a better understanding of the nature of ESD and help stakeholders to make the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development a success".

Quite so.  I'm looking forward to reading it.  Curiously, however, in keeping with its normal practice, UNESCO disowns the report whilst welcoming it.

The designations employed and the presentation of material throughout this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of UNESCO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.  The author is responsible for the choice and presentation of the facts contained in this publication and for the opinions expressed therein, which are not necessarily those of UNESCO and do not commit the Organization.

Despite all that I hope the report gets a wide, critical reading.  It is certainly getting a wide circulation – I must have been sent it 6 times already.

There's just one thing.  When the Preface says it has set out : '... to identify which commonly accepted learning processes are aligned with ESD and should be promoted ..." , I wonder which commonly accepted learning approaches are NOT so aligned.   There are a few that are not commonly accepted, of course: rote learning of UNESCO texts, for example; water-boarding pedagogies, for another; values inculcation through hypnosis, a third; electric shock instruction modes, etc – you get the picture.

But the report implies that there are morally-ok methods that are especially good for ESD; and hence that there must be morally-ok ones that are not.  I just wonder what these latter ones are.  My default position is that they're aren't any.

Posted in: New Publications


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