The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Education for Sustainable Development in the Romanian Geographical School Education

Mona-Lissa Chiriac, Alexandru.I.Cuza University of Iași (Romania)

Corneliu Iațu, Alexandru.I.Cuza University of Iași (Romania)


As a rigorous, scientific discipline, geography is at the intersection of the human, physical and economical aspects of our world and it is in the unique position to educate learners about the complex and interdependent relationships between these spheres, their spatial distribution and temporal evolution. This recommends school geography as the promoter of education for sustainable development. As geographers, we support the research which embraces this viewpoint and advocate that current, relevant geography curricula should address issues of sustainable development (SD). The current research study focuses on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) through the medium of the geography curricula in the Romanian education system. Analysing curriculum documents we aim to evaluate the extent to which education for sustainable development represents a formal educational aim. The semi-structured interviews we applied to geography teachers and Year 11 students (17 years old) from different counties in Romania help us gauge the perception and interest they have regarding education for sustainable development. Among other things, we are interested in the source of this perception (mass media, school, family etc) to create a hierarchy of these determinants. The study relies on the fact that the Romanian Department for Sustainable Development sees ESD as a key instrument for reaching the sustainable development goals and considers SD to be ‘a paradigm based on ethics and education’. The mentioned document sets as target for 2030 to ensure that ‘all students gain knowledge and abilities needed to promote sustainable development’. To this effect, we analyse the tasks proposed in Geography textbooks to evaluate the extent in which they promote skills and competences which support education for sustainable development. The aim of this study is to offer an accurate portrait of the current way in which SD is presented to young learners and to propose that a current and relevant geography curriculum needs a more visible, explicit and practical approach to education for sustainable development.

Keywords: education for sustainable development, geography curriculum, Romanian, geographical education, geography textbooks.

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