European Commission calls for environmental sustainability to be at the core of education and training systems in the European Union

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The European Commission has promoted learning on environmental sustainability in the European Union in a recent Council Recommendation proposal.

The aim of the proposal is to support Member States, schools, higher education institutions, non-governmental organisations and education providers in equipping learners with understanding and skills on sustainability, climate change and the environment.

Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel commented on the announcement: “There is tremendous work being done right across Europe to help children, young people and adults learn about and engage with climate change, biodiversity loss and sustainability.

“Our goal is to build on these efforts and to work closely with Member States to place sustainability at the heart of education and training systems. All learners, from an early age need opportunities to understand and take action for environmental sustainability, to protect our planet and our future.”

The Commission’s proposal calls on Member States to:

  • Provide learners of all ages access to high-quality and inclusive education and training on climate change, biodiversity and sustainability;
  • Establish learning for environmental sustainability as a priority area in education and training policies and programmes to support and enable the sector to contribute to the green transition;
  • Encourage and support whole-institution approaches to sustainability which encompass teaching and learning; developing visions, planning and governance; active involvement of students and staff; management of buildings and resources and partnerships with local and wider communities;
  • Mobilise national and EU funds for investment in sustainable and green infrastructure, training, tools and resources to increase resilience and preparedness of education and training for the green transition.

A new European competence framework on sustainability, published by the Joint Research Centre, also maps out the competences needed for the green transition, including critical thinking, initiative-taking, respecting nature and understanding the impact everyday actions and decisions have on the environment and the global climate.

More information about this proposal is available on the European Commission website.