28 November, 2018 - Minister McHugh launches mid-term review of the National Strategy on Education for Sustainable Development 2014-2020

Mid-Term Review highlights the significant progress to date under the strategy and sets out further actions to 2020.

The Minister for Education and Skills, Joe McHugh, T.D. today (Wednesday 28th November 2018) attended the National Forum on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) at which he launched the mid-term review of the ESD Strategy.

The Review outlines the significant amount of work that has been done since the launch of the Strategy in 2014 and sets out the action plan to 2020 arising from the review’s recommendations.

Minister McHugh said at the event that “Educating our students about Sustainable Development is key to ensuring responsible citizenship into the future”.

Under the strategy, as new curricula are developed at all levels, key ESD principles are being integrated and embedded. The role of educators is vital to success and teacher training programmes are also being revised and developed to include ESD themes and elements.         

There has been significant cross-sectoral collaboration in relation to the implementation of the strategy and of the UNs Sustainable Development Goals (2015) and the Irish Aid Development Education Strategy. Minister McHugh said “the great work being done by our stakeholders to deliver on the aims of the Strategy, highlighted in the review, are acknowledged and appreciated. This collaboration has been key to the successes to date”.  

The Forum was chaired by Kevin O’Sullivan, Environmental Correspondent, Irish Times and included speakers from a range of national and international organisations. There were also a number of “ESD in Practice” presentations including two of which were given by the students from One Good Idea competition winners – Castlegar National School and Abbey Community College



Notes for Editors

The National Strategy on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) 2014 – 2020 was launched by the Department of Education and Skills (D.ES) in July 2014.

The strategy was primarily influenced by Our Sustainable Future – A Framework for Sustainable Development in Ireland, published by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government in 2012.

The development of the strategy was informed by a public consultation process combined with key messages from national and international research and policy documents.

This is the 4th annual National Forum on ESD.

The ESD Strategy aims to ensure that education contributes to sustainable development by equipping learners with the relevant knowledge (the ‘what’), the key dispositions and skills (the ‘how’) and the values (the ‘why’) that will motivate and empower them throughout their lives to become informed active citizens who take action for a more sustainable future.

A mid-term review of the ESD strategy has been carried out. The review looks at all 44 recommendations and sets out progress to date on each. It also makes recommendations for further progress to 2020.

Some of the key developments to date include:

  • The establishment of links between ESD and Development Education (DE)
  • The establishment of an ESD hub on Scoilnet
  • The identification and gathering of relevant ESD related data
  • The implementation of the National Siolta – Aistear Initiative in Early Childhood Care and Education settings
  • The integration of key ESD principles in new Curricula developments as and where appropriate
  • The introduction of Politics and Society as a new Leaving Certificate Subject
  • The inclusion of ESD content in Initial Teacher Education (ITE) and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programmes for Teachers
  • Increased provision of skills needed by the Green Economy by the Further Education Sector
  • Funding to the HEIs to promote and reward initiatives in ESD
  • Inclusion of and consulting with young people on ESD issues
  • The ESD strategy was a key policy input for the National Youth Strategy 2015.`
  • Engagement with a wide range of stakeholders in the provision of programmes, advice, partnerships, assistance, workshops, training etc., to schools in the areas of Sustainable Development

The review made a number of recommendations for the remainder of the term of the strategy to 2020. The key recommendations have been linked to an Action Plan 2018 – 2020 setting out concrete actions and timeframes to deliver on these recommendations.

The mid-term review of the National Strategy on Education for Sustainable Development is available on the Department’s website at: https://www.education.ie/en/Schools-Colleges/Information/Education-for-Sustainable-Development/Education-for-Sustainable-Development.html

ESD resources for schools are available on https://www.scoilnet.ie/