30.03.2017 - UNESCO Office in Nairobi

Kenya launched its first Education for Sustainable Development Policy

ESD Policy Launch in Kenya, Photo Credit UNESCO

The Education for Sustainable Development Policy for the education sector was launched at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development on March21st 2017. It constitutes an essential milestone for Kenya, providing a competency-based curriculum for quality education, emphasizing the teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The Education for Sustainable Development Policy for the Education Sector in Kenya was launched in the presence of a diverse category of stakeholders including senior Ministry of Education officials, County Directors of Education, County Regional Directors of, Country Directors of the Teachers Service Commission, the Parents Association, the Ministry of Environment, Development Partners and academics. Dr Belio Kipsang, Principal Secretary for Basic Education presided as Chief Guest.

From the outset, Dr Belio Kipsang thanked UNESCO for identifying Kenya as one of the flagship countries to become a member of the Global Action Programme (GAP), Partner’s Network on Education for Sustainable Development, supported by the Japanese Funds-In-Trusts (JFIT).

The ESD Policy is considered to be an important milestone and timely initiative by Kenya, which passed a directive on mainstreaming the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in policy, planning, budgeting and programming at the Seventh Cabinet Meeting in 2016. As a matter of fact, the ESD policy provides the framework for a competency based curriculum for quality education. Kenya is also working on the development of a mechanism to monitor SDG4 on inclusive quality education. The Kenyan curriculum reform lays special emphasis on teaching of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics as a “strong pathway” in the national curriculum.

The overall role of the ESD policy is to serve as a goal and catalyst for the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals in Kenya through education, which is also in line with the African Union’s Agenda 2063 which “calls for action on catalyzing education, and a skills revolution to build knowledge, human capital, capabilities and skills to drive innovations on the continent.

The need to build human capacity also implies increasing awareness and knowledge of the teaching fraternity to ensure that all young people are equipped with the required values and attitudes for critical thinking, which is a core characteristic of ESD for lifelong learning. Principal Secretary, Dr Belio Kipsang underlined the fact that the quality of education is as good as the quality of the teachers.”

Dr Eva Njoka, Secretary General of the Kenya National Commission for UNESCO, who a key partner for the development of the ESD policy, emphasized the value of environmental conservation through schooling as a result of the policy, including the need to revive the rivers in Nairobi with the active engagement of young people in the effort. The Secretary General also recognized the importance of the ESD Policy launch on World Forest Day, as a reminder of the challenges faced by the country on environmental issues. It may be recalled that Kenya’s banned the use of plastic bags as of September 2017, thus becoming the second country in East Africa to do so, after Rwanda.

UNESCOs congratulatory remarks emphasized the need for urgency in action on all educational fronts through inter-sectoral collaboration and whole-institution approaches for action oriented, holistic and lifelong learning, as current climatic conditions threaten the very survival of life on planet earth. Dr Kipsang in turn reiterated the need for “all stakeholders” to “partner and strengthen linkages” in support of the objectives of the ESD policy, whose “journey has just started”.

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