Monday 17th of February is the start of a week of Global Goals Teach-Ins, where educators pledge to teach the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals as part of their lessons during the week. ECSA is supporting this campaign to highlight the importance of including sustainable development in education, and we call on Edinburgh College lecturers to take part.

What are the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals?

The United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs, commonly called the Global Goals) are a set of 17 goals for the world, as agreed by the United Nations in 2015. 193 countries have signed up to them, and they are the most ambitious agreement for sustainable development that world leaders have ever made. The three big aims of the Global Goals are that we fight inequality and injustice, end extreme poverty and tackle climate change. Those who are worst off will (and already are) be the worst affected by climate change. The 17 Global Goals highlight the importance of social and economic justice when trying to make the world more a more sustainable place.

What is the Global Goals Teach-In?

From the 17th to the 21st of February, educators all over the UK are pledging to include the Global Goals as part of their teaching time. The Global Goals highlight how sustainability affects all aspects of our lives, and isn't merely an environmental issue. Sustianable development is relevant to every curriculum area, at every level - and should be being taught as such. This campaign calls on educators to try and catalyse the change we need in our eduation system to embed climate change and sustainability in national curricula.

How can I take part?

If you are a student, then the best thing you can do is to ask your lecturer to pledge to take part! Direct them towards the this news article, and point out the useful resources at the bottom of the page. You could also use it as an opportunity to discuss with your class how sustainability and social justice is taught as part of your curriculum overall. Do you think it is covered enough, if at all? Are you taught about the impact your industry has on the climate and the planet? Should what you're being taught change because of how climate change will affect your lives in the future? You can see some ideas for discussion points below.

If you are a lecturer, then the best thing you can do is to pledge to take part in the campaign, and to teach your students about the UN SDGs! You can sign up to the pledge here, and find useful resources on the list below:

Useful resources:

  • Sign up to the pledge here.
  • Read this article from the British Council about how and why we should be teaching the UN SDGs.
  • Find teaching resources and lesson plans for lots of different subjects that feature the SDGs here.

Ideas for class discussion:

DepartmentDiscussion pointSustainable Development Goal
Sport & Fitness
  • How can we re-frame exercise so that it is something people do as part of their everyday life, rather than a hobby you have to dedicate time to?
  • Does sport bring people together, or create divisions in society?
  • 3: Good Health & Wellbeing
  • 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions
Hairdressing and Beauty
  • Do you know what happens to the products that get rinsed down the drain? What impact might this have on water quality?
  • 14: Life Below Water
Construction Trades / Built Environment
  • Are there barriers to women working in this industry?
  • What skills will be most relevant in the future of work? - e.g., do you learn about district heating, or retrofitting boilers to use hydrogen?
  • 5: Gender Equality
  • 8: Decent Work & Economic Growth
Art & Design
  • What are the most effective ways to communicate the problems the world face, given the sheer scale of the climate emergency?
  • How can you turn other people's rubbish into creative pieces? Could you redesign a system so there is zero waste?
  • 13: Climate Action
  • 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
Childhood Practice
  • At what point should you introduce the problems and solutions of climate change to children's education? How can you do this through play-based learning?
  • Is it possible to prevent bullying through early-years education?
  • 4: Quality Education
  • 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions