The focus of the ENETOSH session was on the interrelation between education for sustainability and occupational safety and health in school settings. Four speakers contributed to this session:
- Johnny Dyreborg, a senior researcher at the National Research Centre for the Working Environment in Denmark, showed how OSH strategies can be transferred to the school system to identify successful sustainable interventions. His daughter Liva (9 years old), who attends a UNESCO school in Copenhagen, presented experiences from her school.
- Malene Rungvald Christensen, Director of UNGDOMSBYEN (Youth Town) and coordinator of the UNESCO Associated School Network in Denmark presented online a special method to effectively embed sustainability in the school setting with students.
- Sarah Lyons, Senior Health, Safety and Environment Officer at the National Education Union (UK) and member of the European Trade Union Committee for Education, focused on how teachers need to be supported to deal with changing economic, environmental and social conditions. She gave an insight into what and how ETUCE is already active in this area.
- The workshop concluded with a practical example of a sustainable school from Germany that takes a holistic approach. It was presented online by Kai Gembler, who is deputy UNESCO project school coordinator in Lower Saxony (Germany) and active in the coordination of the Climate Action Project Network (CAN).
In between, there was a short joint interview intervention with Johnny Dyreborg, Peter Paulus and Sarah Lyons and with the audience on the three basic dimensions of sustainability: economic, social and environmental sustainability, explored through questions along Malene Rungvald Christensen's process wheel.
The main findings from the ENETOSH session were:
- The examples presented showed that students not only learn about the SDGs, but also put what they learn into practice. They acquire "action competence" and are thus prepared to make "qualified sustainable development decisions", as Johnny and Liva Dyreborg explained.
- Students experience that they are not victims but can take on a role as change agents to be subjects of their existence and not objects of educational interventions. This was particularly evident in the videos from Sortedamskolen in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Max-Windmüller-Gymnasium in Emden, Germany.
- It is the whole-school approach that enables schools to integrate the SDGs into their organisational structures, processes and school culture.
It is important for OSH that health and safety are prerequisites for this implementation of the SDGs in the school setting: The comprehensive concept of health and well-being (physical, mental, social, environmental and spiritual) opens doors for mutual cooperation and joint efforts to build bridges between OSH and education for sustainability in the school of tomorrow.
[Peter Paulus, Chair of the session]
More photos and a link to a video of the whole session on our event page.