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By 2050 sustainability will be at the heart of all educational establishments and will form an integral part of the curriculum, the learning process, the learning environment and staff development. These elements will be strongly interconnected by means of a whole school approach.

WHAT WILL THE CURRICULUM BE LIKE IN 2050?

By 2050 sustainability will be a crosscutting theme in our education system. Children will acquire the knowledge and skills needed for sustainable development from a young age, based on relevant issues and independently developed teaching material.

Sustainability as a crosscutting theme

Children will become acquainted with sustainability from an early age, with special emphasis on contact with nature. Children will learn to treat the environment with respect and their awareness will be fostered both in and outside the home. Sustainability will be a crosscutting theme throughout our education system. It will be an important part of the national attainment targets in primary and secondary education and everyone will learn about sustainability in relation to their own discipline or occupation. In addition, there will be a diverse range of post-secondary courses and particularly specialist training focusing on sustainable development.

Relevant and independent teaching material

We will learn about the natural, social and economic aspects of sustainability and how they relate to one another through discussion of relevant, current social issues. Education will prepare us for the society of the future, so the curriculum will be updated regularly to incorporate new developments. Teaching material and content will not be dependent on commercial interests and will be assessed by an independent monitoring body. This will limit the influence of big companies and help teachers select their teaching material.

Sustainable competences

In addition to knowledge about sustainability, the focus will be on various skills and outlooks, like future-oriented, solution-focused and system-based thinking, which contribute to the creation of a sustainable society. Furthermore, self-development and empowerment at all ages will play an important part in our development. We will also acquire digital skills that are crucial in a rapidly changing technological society. We will have a critical attitude towards the opportunities available, enabling us to make optimum use of technological solutions that foster sustainable development. 

WHAT WILL THE LEARNING PROCESS BE LIKE IN 2050?

By 2050 teaching in traditional classroom settings will have made way for participatory learning, with a high degree of interdisciplinary collaboration. Young people in all schools will be encouraged to have a say in sustainability policy. 

Interdisciplinary collaboration

In order to understand and resolve complex sustainability issues, it will often be necessary to work across disciplines. All training courses will therefore have an interdisciplinary component. One important part of the learning process will be working on cross-curricular assignments, making full use of subject-specific expertise. These projects will also involve intensive collaboration and exchange between pupils and students at different educational stages and levels. Practical and theoretical education will complement each other, with each partner in the collaboration drawing on their own abilities.

Participation

There will be a balance between teacher instruction and cooperative learning, with the teacher facilitating the learning process. Various teaching methods will be used to engage pupils and students who have different learning styles. Alongside traditional whole-class methods of instruction there will be plenty of scope for participatory learning, co-creation and enquiry-based learning, which will be made possible by creating a dynamic and flexible learning environment that encourages dialogue, experimentation and creativity.

Having a say

Educational establishments will make it easier for pupils and students to have a say in sustainability policy and will proactively seek to make implementation a joint effort. Young people will be a driving force in making their environment more sustainable. Educational facilities will encourage initiatives by young people and will provide an environment in which constant change and improvement is the norm. There will be scope within the curriculum for students to develop their own ideas about sustainability in projects. In addition, participation bodies will play an important role within educational establishments.

WHAT WILL THE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT BE LIKE IN 2050?

By 2050 all educational establishments will serve as examples for the circular society. The school will be at the heart of society, and both the building itself and the community at large will provide opportunities for learning. 

The school as an example

School buildings and campuses will be energy neutral and will serve as examples for the circular society. The grounds will contain plenty of greenery and technological and ecological solutions will enable them to be used to full advantage. The focus will be on using services rather than products. School canteens will mainly use products that are plant-based, local and seasonal, with no food waste and minimum packaging. Buildings, canteens, materials and modes of transport will be used not only for their primary function but as teaching tools as well. In this way, the learning environment will help raise awareness of the impact of our consumption and we will actively address this subject.

Relationship with the community

Educational establishments will be at the heart of society. We will learn from our community through guest lectures, excursions and local, sustainable projects. Children’s learning environment will expand as they grow older, starting at local level in early years education and becoming national or even international as we pursue further education. Schools will show their community what they are doing in terms of sustainability and good examples will be recognised and shared.

HOW WILL WE ORGANISE RETRAINING AND FURTHER TRAINING IN 2050?

By 2050 retraining and further training in sustainable development will be accessible to everyone, different generations will learn from each other as a result of active collaboration and there will be a strong focus on training sustainability teachers.

Retraining

Knowledge institutions, businesses and government will work together to provide attractive retraining programmes for work in sustainable sectors. Employees will be actively encouraged to retrain for occupations that help to build a sustainable society. They will keep their salary and social safety net, making these retraining programmes accessible and affordable for all. Both theoretical and practical retraining will take place within the working environment.

Further training

Further training will be a standard part of everyone’s job and will be encouraged throughout a person’s career by employers in all sectors. This will ensure long-term employability, with everyone continuing to learn and change in order to keep up with the latest developments in their specialist area. Active collaboration between different generations will be a key focus so as to ensure a balanced exchange of experience, knowledge and expertise.

Sustainability teachers

Sustainability will be addressed in periodic in-service training for teachers. This means that all teachers will have subject-specific and interdisciplinary knowledge about sustainability and the ability to teach sustainable competences. Sustainability will have a place in all teacher training and recognition will be given to teachers who actively seek to make the education system more sustainable.