» Do you speak ‘ocean?’ – UNESCO develops open resource on ocean literacy
22.06.2016 - Education Sector

Do you speak ‘ocean?’ – UNESCO develops open resource on ocean literacy

© Sea Change

UNESCO and its Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) are working to develop an open resource learning tool on ocean literacy.

The project is being developed by UNESCO’s Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) programme and IOC as part of the EU Horizon 2020 SeaChange project.

It aims to produce a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) to sensitize and enable teachers and students from Europe and beyond to incorporate the concept of ocean literacy - how we influence the ocean and it influences us - into learning.

The MOOC will focus on Ocean Literacy’s 7 essential principles with the long-term aim is to enhance responsibility towards the marine environment and develop marine citizenship.

At the recent Global Ocean Science Education Workshop in Paris highlighting the importance of “citizen science” in protecting the marine environment, Bernard Combes of UNESCO’s Global Action Programme on ESD participated in panel discussions on the Influence of Informal Science Education on Policy and Connections Between Citizen Science, Informal Science Education, and Policy.

Youth play a key role

During discussions on concrete examples of informal education on issues such as marine litter, shark protection or ocean observation, he stressed: “Informal science education can and should have a role in shaping policy on protecting the marine environment. We need to show people how that can be done and overcome the misconception that informal science educational institutions such as aquariums, zoos and museums have no role to play.”

He also highlighted the important role youth can play in raising the profile of the ocean and getting involved. UNESCO’s ASPnet network of over 10,000 schools around the world plays a part in informal science through its regional Baltic Sea project which over 20 years has become part of political discussion. The UNESCO Green Citizens’ initiative showcases people and examples of ESD projects related to the oceans. At global level, World Oceans Day helps to further raise the profile of the challenges involved.

UNESCO is the only UN agency with a mandate in education and ocean science.

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