20.06.2018 - Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission

Schools in over 30 countries to trial ocean literacy manual

Ocean literacy

Schools in thirty-six countries* around the world will take part in a pilot project to test the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission’s (IOC) latest flagship publication, Ocean Literacy for All – A Toolkit, through the UNESCO Associated Schools Network (ASPnet).

Ocean literacy is defined as the understanding of our influence on the ocean, and the ocean’s influence on us – including as a major regulator of the Earth’s climate. As such, ocean literacy is an essential tool for all citizens, whether we live along the coastline, up on the mountains or in a landlocked country. As top priorities for ASPnet, Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and climate change contribute to reorient education toward building more sustainable communities.

Ocean Literacy for All – A Toolkit is a two-volume publication: Volume 1 covers the history and definition of ocean literacy and its seven principles, while Volume 2 contains fourteen practical lesson plans. These lesson plans are linked to the ocean literacy principles, as well as Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 targets, but also relate to all other SDGs, highlighting the cross-cutting nature of ocean knowledge. The lesson plans give out tips on how to adapt the activities to student groups of different ages (from 6-18 years), as well as to non-formal contexts (outside of the school).

The Spanish version of the toolkit was recently published, with the release of the French version expected shortly.

Member States wishing to test the toolkit through ASPnet are invited to select a maximum of ten schools in their country, ideally from different levels and branches: primary, lower and upper secondary, technical and vocational schools. In each school, at least one male and one female teacher should participate in the testing, scheduled from September 2018 to March 2019.

In order to facilitate the process, the IOC and ASPnet will:

  • organize in September 2018 three webinars for the heads of schools and teachers involved, in English, Spanish, and French;
  • distribute a teacher’s guide in English, French and Spanish;
  • provide an online questionnaire to be completed by the teachers after the testing with their students.

The IOC will collect and analyze the feedback and disseminate the results to all participants and ASPnet by June/July 2019. Based on these comments, the IOC will revise and further develop the teaching materials.

Ocean Literacy for All – A Toolkit was launched during the International Ocean Literacy Conference (4-5 December 2017, Venice, Italy), where over 100 participants from 30 countries contributed to design a roadmap on ocean literacy for the next three years.

The publication was produced jointly by the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, Venice (Italy) and IOC. It builds on the “Ocean Literacy for All” initiative, an IOC voluntary commitment to the UN Ocean Conference (New York, USA, June 2017), and the Call for Action issued at the end of the Conference which calls on all stakeholders to “support plans to foster ocean-related education […] to promote ocean literacy”.

ASPnet schools serve as international laboratories for developing, experimenting and validating innovative educational material developed by UNESCO or its partner organizations.

For more information, please contact:

Francesca Santoro (f.santoro(at)unesco.org)


* The countries are: Argentina, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Dominican Republic, France, Gambia (The), Ghana, Greece, Guyana, Indonesia, Japan, Kiribati Republic, Lao (People's Democratic Republic), Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Madagascar, Mauritius, Micronesia (Federate States of), Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Peru, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Spain, Thailand, Togo, Uganda, United Arab Emirates

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