Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 134

134   Arctic Yearbook 2014   and contents) that currently support unsustainable societies. ESD affects all components of education: legislation, policy, finance, curriculum, instruction, learning, assessment, etc. ESD calls for lifelong learning and recognizes the fact that the educational needs of people change over their lifetime. Many individuals and organizations around the world already implement ESD (e.g. a teacher weaving sustainability themes into primary education using participatory methods; a community development worker raising people’s awareness on rights which are denied to them; or a public health worker training people to draw water from clean sources). There are many programs using an ESD approach to learning which is critical for achieving sustainability. ESD has essential characteristics that can be implemented in many culturally appropriate forms. Education for sustainable development: is based on the principles and values that underlie sustainable development; deals with the well-being of all four dimensions of sustainability – environment, society, culture and economy; uses a variety of pedagogical techniques that promote participatory learning and higher-order thinking skills; promotes lifelong learning; is locally relevant and culturally appropriate; is based on local needs, perceptions and conditions, but acknowledges that fulfilling local needs often has international effects and consequences; engages formal, nonformal and informal education; accommodates the evolving nature of the concept of sustainability; addresses content, taking into account context, global issues and local priorities; builds civil capacity for community-based decision-making, social tolerance, environmental stewardship, an adaptable workforce, and a good quality of life; is interdisciplinary. No single discipline can claim ESD for itself; all disciplines can contribute to ESD (The official website of UNESCO). However, for the Arctic there is a history of education systems that tried to force central school models on local people, including different degrees of suppression of local language. This has been improved today to various degrees in the Arctic States. But the lack of skilled teachers with local roots is a circumpolar-wide challenge. Arctic higher educational institutions also face many challenges when attempting to be innovative and competitive due to their small size and geographic isolation (Kullerud 2009). Education should be an important indicator for human development in the circumpolar region. Each of the circumpolar states has a vested interest in education. There are certain common characteristics in northern education. For example, some aspects of what students learn during their primary and secondary school years, and even beyond to post-secondary education, is on the surface similar in all parts of the circumpolar North. In Narsaq, Greenland, students will acquire some of the same knowledge as those in Norilsk, Russia, even if there will be some obvious language and culture differences. The situation in the North is special because the region for many years has been impressed by closed borders – a border that separated the East from the West and that represents great language, economic, technological, and social differences. However, the peoples in the high North have much in common, such as their closeness to nature and its seasons. Comparisons show similar systems of organization, school administration, and textbook subject matter, though the size of classes and economics of education vary a great deal. This holds true when comparing a number of schools in each of the larger urban communities. The graduates from Lipatov