Introducing education for sustainable development into Egyptian schools

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Unsustainable development in Egypt has increased water, air and soil pollution, which caused health problems and endangered natural and human resources. The effort to increase the economic well-being has caused enormous damages to the society and the environment. Only sustainable development will enable Egyptians to attain a better quality of life and meet their current needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. EduCamp is a European–Egyptian project entitled ‘EduCamp: education for sustainable development beyond the campus’ which aims to introduce key sustainable development principles into teaching and learning in the Egyptian public schools. EduCamp followed four main principles to introduce ESD into Egyptian schools. These include (a) a partnership approach between different stakeholders, (b) changing pedagogical practices, (c) teacher development through training the trainers, and (d) developing public understanding and awareness of sustainability. The main achievements of EduCamp are (a) Developing ESD resource kits for schools to provide activities for teachers and students which link the existing school curriculum to the local community. The kits include activities related to biodiversity, agriculture, energy, and water. (b) A school teachers’ training programme has been developed and applied to enable teachers to implement ESD and use the kits in their teaching activities. (c) Seven ESD Centres of Excellence have been established to promote and support the introduction of ESD into the education system and provide teachers’ training programmes. It is premature to draw a quantitative conclusion about the impact nationwide because change takes time and the implementation of ESD presents a long-lasting process, which will take many years to achieve. The indicators of direct impact on teachers’ and students’ performance are promising. This discussion paper presents and examines EduCamp. The paper is divided into three main sections. Firstly, the authors set the context for the project, explore the issue of education for sustainable development (ESD) and examine current issues facing education in Egypt. Secondly, the authors discuss the project in relation to relevant literature, often curriculum change literature, in order to explore the merits and challenges of the project and the extent to which curriculum change is actually feasible as a result of the project. Finally, the paper concludes by reflecting on the challenges ahead.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironment, Development and Sustainability
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)221-238
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 04.2015

    Research areas

  • Sustainability education - Education for sustainable development, Egypt, Schools, Teacher training, Teaching resources