When I debate in Model United Nations, no matter what
the topic is, there is always a delegate that proposes as a possible solution having
a special focus on education. Whether we are debating about an environmental
crisis or terrorist attacks, the solution is always related to education.
Since, if we educate people correctly, with the values and skills needed, many
problems, just like the previously mentioned, would be prevented in the future.
However, when this solution is proposed, most of the delegates react skeptically. They stare at each other quietly, and then, usually, say out loud that even though it is a good solution, it is not viable, since it would take a lot of time to show results and meanwhile the problem would still be unsolved. After these reactions, in a matter of seconds the committee agrees to include that proposition as a clause in the resolution, and then the education solutions are left behind to keep looking for “better” ways to solve the problem. However, is it actually correct to think that education is not a good solution to problems the international community faces nowadays?
Perhaps for a Model United Nations it could be, only due to the fact that the solutions that have a bigger and quicker impact are more attractive in those scenarios. Nevertheless, world and local leaders that are indeed dealing with those issues should definitely not leave the education option behind. Since it is clearly a a tool that can make of this world a better one.
Before I continue, I would like to clarify that with education I am not only referring to the basic subjects that pop up in our minds when listening that word; such as, maths and literature. Although these are highly important and basic to ensure a quality education, the key to creating better results and solving bigger problems is to implement Education for Sustainable Development in schools. In other words, it is fundamental to adopt an educational approach based on abilities needed to promote sustainable development.
In fact, the United Nations (2015) established this point as a target to reach sustainable development and quality education. According to the organization, sustainable education implies covering issues like “…Human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development.” Certainly, having this approach in schools worldwide would help kids to see the world with other perspective. If we teach students all over the globe that girls and boys are equal, that races should not separate us, that young people are change agents for sustainable development and that we all have the same rights, many of the struggles we face today would not exist.
What I desire to prove with this point is that education is not only about teaching, it is about teaching the right things. If teachers, governments and institutions have on their hands the opportunity to promote values that will make this world shape for the better, why not taking advantage of their position and making a change? Without doubt, everyone should have access to skills that can help building a better and sustainable future. If we start today, the perks in the future would be a lot! Some of the skills that sustainable education develops include: innovation, collaborative decision making, problem solving and critical thinking. Isn´t that what many world leaders lack of?
To conclude, I deeply encourage you to ask your local government to implement Education for Sustainable Development. Also, remember that not only the government should act, you can also do something. For instance, start sharing these skills and knowledge with younger students. As a personal experience, I can share with you that two years ago I created a student organization to provide educational workshops to kids in my town, Puebla. Today, two years after I created the organization, more than 15 incredibly talented changemakers and I work together to make the project bigger and better, making those workshops be more focused on sustainable education and having already impacted the life of more than 40 boys and girls. So, do not wait any longer and make #SustainableDevelopmentGoal4 a reality!
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