Education for sustainable development has been present in French school curricula since 2004. The Michel Chasles college (Epernon, France), member of the UNESCO Associated Schools Network has initiated since then Eco-delegate. These students have been raising awareness, training and taking action in their community to improve their environment. Since 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals have guided their actions.
In the midst of a pandemic, the emotion aroused by the explosion of August 4, 2020 in BEIRUT (LEBANON) was such that the eco-delegates wished, during their first steering committee of the year, to commit to supporting one of the 160 establishments affected by this tragedy. Without being informed, they were joining and responding to the UNESCO appeal (LiBeirut). The Lebanese national coordination offered them to enter into a partnership with the ZAHRAT EL ISHAN, ASPnet school, Beirut. This international solidarity between the two schools will be expressed this year through simple gestures allowing young people from both countries to take pleasure in finding their way back to school (SDG 4). It is above all about building resilience by proposing actions that take into account the inequalities (SDG 10) and injustices (SDG 16) affecting both communities. This commitment is supported and relayed by the French National Commission to UNESCO https://unesco.delegfrance.org/Le-college-Michel-Chasles-d-Epernon-France-membre-du-reseau-des-ecoles.
For shared governance, the Eco-delegates of the Michel Chasles college have formed a monitoring committee for the SOLIDARITE France-Lebanon project. They keep the principal of the college Mr BELAYACHI and the project coordinator Mr SEPTSAULT informed of their organization and project implementation. The latter, national ESD referent for the network of associated schools of UNESCO, maintains regular contact with the UNESCO French and Lebanese national commissions.
It turns out that sometimes citizen action meets national aspiration. Indeed on September 24, 2020, the Ministry of National Education, Youth and Sports published a circular on strengthening sustainable development. This major text makes it possible to consolidate education for sustainable development around 7 pillars. From the 2030 agenda as a roadmap to the necessary training of teachers, each axis provides concrete responses in strengthening ESD throughout French schools and educational institutions.
Having learned about the SOLIDARITE France-Lebanon project, some French schools in the network of UNESCO associated schools, which are locally close to the MICHEL CHASLES college, expressed the idea of participating. This dynamic was brought to the attention of the Academy of Orléans-Tours. It was then reported that, based on the circular of September 24, it was now possible to extend the France-Lebanon Solidarity project to all French schools. In fact, pillar 7 of the circular relates to international strategy. It offers opportunities to French schools and recognition for the UNESCO ASPnet: "Schools are invited to establish links with the UNESCO Associated Schools, to build partnerships with schools in other countries ".
Three objectives are targeted:
- the coherence of educational actions to serve the achievement of the SDGs […],
- cooperation between schools, students, teachers and scientific resources […],
- the realization of international collective projects […].
The opportunities offered by the ASPnet and the Ministry of National Education, Youth and Sports have enabled eco-delegates to become the linchpins of sustainable development in their school and on their territory.
Mr Jean-Marc SEPTSAULT, Teacher of technology at the college Michel Chasles - d'Epernon National ESD referent for the UNESCO Associated Schools Network ESD project manager for the Orléans-Tours academy - Sustainable development trainer