CEBU CITY–Cebu’s University of San Jose-Recoletos has opened the first Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Center in the Philippines.
ESD is one of UNESCO’s global action programs that work for 3Ps: Planet, Prosperity, and Peace. It aims to achieve global sustainability through focusing efforts on five priority action areas in education namely: policy, learning environment, training educators, youth and communities.
Its objectives include identifying goals for sustainable development of the University, designing ESD research and training programs, securing partnerships, and piloting community-based ESD-related programs.
This initiative is funded by UNESCO Japan through UNESCO Thailand.
The role of the ESD Center is to ensure that concepts of sustainability are integrated into the school’s curriculum. It will also be a center for research, training, and development, which will focus on attaining quality education, which is one of the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals.
Three other tertiary institutions have been identified as ESD pillars but are yet to have a center of their own. These are Cebu Normal University, Cebu Technological University, and
Philippine Normal University.
All four schools, USJ-R included, are recognized as ESD Fellow Universities by UNESCO and the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO).
USJ-R has been representing the country actively in different international conventions. For one, USJ-R and CNU were the Philippine representatives during the creation of an ESD Framework for the Asia Pacific Region in 2019. USJ-R also became the Philippine representative to a project on developing a teacher support system in rural schools, which was organized by UNESCO China.
Dr. Jestoni Babia, ESD Fellow and dean of the USJ-R College of Education, said he is hopeful for the new ESD Center to grow in advocacy as it continues to collaborate with local and international partners.
During the center’s launch on January 10, Jose Roberto Guevara, visiting professor from RMIT University-Australia, challenged both the USJ-R faculty and students to take part in ESD as it addresses the world’s biggest problems.
“ESD is about telling why these things are happening and not just what is happening. Ask why and what can you do about it,” he said.
Guevarra said ESD is not a new subject but rather embedding a new perspective or a fresh understanding of the world. To do this, one can add, integrate, or retain existing knowledge.
“We are preparing for a world that we have not yet known. Yan yung isang challenge ng ESD,” he said.