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World Development Information Day

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In our latest blog, EU Projects Officer Dearbháil Lawless reflects on ‘Unlocking the Power of 4.7’ conference in Brussels, and considers how adult and community education meets the needs of education for sustainable development.

Today is World Development Information Day; 24th October 2018.  According to the United Nations through the sharing of information and communication technologies, we have the potential to provide new solutions to (sustainable) development challenges, particularly in the context of globalization, and can foster economic growth, competitiveness, access to information and knowledge, poverty eradication and social inclusion. In addition to mobilising and sharing public opinion, especially from our youth.

What does this mean for educators, in particular those in the adult and community sector? AONTAS was invited to attend an international conference in Brussels, ‘Unlocking the Power of 4.7’ linked to SDG 4.7 which states that by 2030 (we should) ensure all learners acquire knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including among others through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship, and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development. AONTAS has previously explored the role of adult and community education in addressing the sustainable development goals.

Loizos Loukaidis shared his transformative learning experience growing up in a divided society. Truthfully describing how his perspective changed from a conservative nationalist approach towards an understanding to learn and collaborate with others. His education supported him to change his perspective and shift his mind-set utilising a reflective, questioning, and critical thinking approach. Loizos promoted the urgency to teach our children peace, or someone else will teach them violence.

Maya Menezes, a Canadian SDG advocate and part of the The Leap Manifesto shared a number of key learning points for active and meaningful inclusion, which we may consider when developing materials or actively constructing new knowledge with learners:

The sharing of information on a global scale is vital in meeting the needs of society for sustainable development. Adult and community education supports people in this process. It provides a unique space for inclusive and meaningful education. Niamh O’Reilly (2018) states AONTAS’ view of adult learning is rooted in a ‘Freirean view of adult learning whereby learning facilitated through a dialogical process offers a deep understanding that exposes structural inequalities triggering social change through collective action, particularly by people experiencing oppression.’

For more information on Sustainable Development contact IDEA: https://www.ideaonline.ie/