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Number: 67
Year: 1999
Author: Eloísa Trellez Solís and Gustavo Wilches Chaux
Title: Education for a Sustainable Future in the Americas

Scope for Transformation

If education is to become a meaningful tool in the pursuit of sustainable development, strategies should be designed to transform basic processes and structures with respect to a) thought, b) organization and participation at local, national and regional levels, and c) action. With respect to intellectual and analytical strategies, a number of elements should be considered: the conceptualization of the world as a complex system; analysis of continuing interactions and interdependencies; the reappraisal and appreciation of traditional forms of knowledge; the establishment of a dialogue among “knowledges;” and an awareness of Latin American environmental thought. The objective of these reflections is far-reaching: to perform an in-depth transformation of our way of thinking about ourselves as individuals and as societies.

In terms of organization and participation, strategies for change refer to the encouragement of organized participatory processes, within which educational work is executed in accordance with flexible and democratic procedures, incorporating different social sectors and linking their experiences in an integrated and creative vision of regional reality. Local forums must be the point of departure in developing processes that can integrate the countries and the region as a whole. The horizontal exchange of ideas and experiences must play a decisive role, and countries should be receptive to experiences from other regions.

Action strategies should make us aware of the need for meaningful participation and lead us to a reliance on facts, supported by thoughtful analysis and by organizational structures. All social sectors must open new spaces for organized action and express their perceptions and their expectations in the process of sustainable development.

Reflection, organized participation, and action are three aspects of education that must become articulated elements in all teaching and learning processes. They will require a new drive, a creative mind and a great willingness to change.