Post-pandemic education and the Climate Conference - 10/13/2021 - Claudia Costin

We live, in the country, challenging times, in the most diverse meanings of the expression. The pandemic slowed down, but left a huge number of dead and sequelae, sad unemployment figures, the resumption of child labor and a fragmented society.

When counting those affected by the tragedy, we cannot forget the children and young people deprived of face-to-face access to schools and, in some cases, any contact with their teachers, for an extended period. Many are still far away from the classroom or living in rotation with their peers, which makes the learning process much less effective. Others will not return, as they have disconnected from school or are in child labor.

Most state and municipal governments are trying to build a solution for this, with the support of organizations such as UNICEF, which has been tireless in guiding processes of active search for children in this sad crisis. Certainly, good public policies can help to rescue lost learning and ensure that we return to a transformed education, with higher quality education and the support of the technologies we learned to use in the teaching process during social isolation.

But there is something else we can do when we return to the classroom: educate for values, training students not only for academic success or for the world of work, but for global citizenship, for a commitment to the future of the planet.

In the week of COP 15, the Conference of the Parties for Biodiversity, to prepare us for the great Climate Conference in Scotland, it is important to remember that, in 2015, when we set Sustainable Development Goal 4, referring to education, we have included in it a goal associated with global citizenship. It established that the signatory countries, including Brazil, would guarantee by 2030 that all students would receive an education that would foster, among other things, sustainable lifestyles, human rights, a culture of peace and non-violence and global citizenship.

Also this week, the World Health Organization declared that climate change has a major impact on the planet not only through the destruction of the habitats of animals, plants and people, but also through the emergence of pandemics like the one we are experiencing today.

In this sense, educating new generations for sustainable development is not just promoting an intergenerational ethical imperative among them, but guaranteeing their own survival, and this in a more cohesive and fair society than the one that we adults have managed to build for them.

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