PPMI, in collaboration with European Schoolnet (EUN), completed the study on mapping the national and institutional policies and approaches to Education for Environmental Sustainability (EES) in the Member States with the client DG EAC. The results of the study will feed into the European Commission’s effort to develop Council Recommendations and a competence framework on EES. Besides from mapping the situation in the Member States, the study reported on barriers and enablers to mainstreaming high-quality EES and how education systems and institutions can foster action competences.
The study was a mixed-method research design covering both quantitative and qualitative methods and ensuring data triangulation throughout the implementation of the project; a literature review, national and policy research mapping; review of school curricula; survey of educators; 5 in-depth case studies and an expert focus group meeting to validate the study findings. The research team worked on the assumption that as members of society, individuals should be empowered through education to act in a sustainable manner in complex situations. This may require them to strike out in new directions and participate in socio-political processes that require every member of society to acquire a ‘sustainability mindset’ and environmental literacy. For such transformations to take place holistically and comprehensively, action is needed both vertically (from individual to institutional and systemic changes) and horizontally, with all stakeholders acting in synergy to promote environmental sustainability. Analytically, the study therefore considered both system-level and institutional-level approaches, and practices and interlinkages between them.
The final report provides a dense overview of the situation for EES at various levels of education and forms of education in Europe, as well as recommendations for policy actions to support the Member States and institutions further on EES. Overall, the report found that the Member States have increasingly introduced EES in their education (formal and non-formal) at various levels, but that there is a lack of holistic visions as well as clearly defined competence frameworks and learning objectives that sufficiently grasp the community-based, inter-disciplinary and action-focused nature of EES. Besides, there is a need to support teachers, school staff and school leaders with more relevant education and funding for pedagogical innovation as they are the key drivers of change at institutions.