PS 82-89 - CANCELLED - In transition towards sustainability: Bridging the business and education sectors of RCE Greater Sendai using ESD-based social learning

Friday, August 12, 2011
Exhibit Hall 3, Austin Convention Center
Paul Ofei-Manu and Satoshi Shimano, Environmental Education Center, Miyagi University of Education, Sendai, Japan

The present adverse impact of society on the environment and the resultant negative effect on biological life brings into question the effectiveness of today’s global educational systems and business practices to meet the sustainability challenges of society. The issues include climate change, biodiversity loss, high population growth, modification of the nitrogen cycle, deterioration of food production systems and land system change, energy acquisition, and resource use that threaten the planet's life-support systems. Solving these problems will require the integration of knowledge and values from many sources and the subsequent link with behavioral change.  As a result, developing human adaptive capacity in the education and business sectors both of which are important in national development using education for sustainable development (ESD)-based social learning is key in the transition towards sustainability. The Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) that was launched to facilitate the sustainability transition by advancing the goals of ESD is already past mid-way through its 2005-2014 timeframe. And the regional centre of expertise (RCE) of which RCE Greater Sendai  (RCEGS) is a pioneer was set up to advance the ESD agenda at the local and regional levels by enabling a stage for multi-stakeholder engagement.


Other aspects of RCEGS that have been least examined in addition to the lack of collaboration between the business and education sectoral organizations through ESD-based social learning are networking with other institutions and the overall coordination by the RCEGS Steering Committee aimed at achieving sustainability in the region. Based on the results of an earlier work by the authors (under review) that the sustainability of organizations in both sectors  were mixed and hence needed improvement, we propose a conceptual framework for multi-stakeholder ESD-based social learning among the actors within RCEGS with the aim of attaining sustainability in the region. It was suggested that initially focusing on the collaboration between actors in the two sectors through the practical use of the government-mandated ‘period of integrated studies’ (PIS)  in relation to the company internship for Japanese junior high and high school students and also on RCEGS’ networking and promotion of  interactions among the institutional actors will be a good start.

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