Developing sustainability competencies in teacher training in Costa Rica

2022-10-20 On Thursday, the 13th of October, members of the Youth Advisory group of the Politics4Future project, which consists of members of the German UNESCO Commission, the Earth Charter, and student assistants from Leuphana University met virtually to discuss the topic "Teacher education in Costa Rica". Alicia Jimenez, Director of Programmes at the Earth Charter International (ECI) Secretariat in Costa Rica was invited to explain the system of teacher training in Costa Rica.

The goal of the session for the Youth Advisory was to have a closer look at teacher training in Costa Rica and how does it address sustainability-related issues as part of teacher education in the country.. Through the detailed explanation of the education system in Costa Rica, the participants were able to develop a decent  understanding about teacher education, and also the challenges faced by teachers in Costa Rica. As Alicia Jimenez stated ``We are looking for more English speaking teachers which is a major challenge in the country as there is a preference for teachers fluent in English.  Alicia further elaborated that the emphasis on the SDGs is increasing in school programmes´´. Even though there are challenges such as a lack of a specific curriculum on the topic and teacher vacancies, in general awareness of sustainability-related issues is increasing in schools. Most importantly, the implementation of climate protection in teaching was stressed throughout the meeting. The session ended with thoughts of the Youth Advisory on the raised issues and questions, also highlighting the Earth Charter´s preamble ``We must join together to bring forth a sustainable global society founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace´´.

The youth advisory had posed few questions to the speakers on understanding if teachers and students in Costa Rica are able learn about national and international policy processes on sustainability and how does environment protection is considered in the curriculum.

Background: This session was second in series “Understanding Teacher Education” and focusses upon knowledge awareness of youth advisors on learning about teacher training in Canada, Costa Rica, Germany, Greece and South Africa. The Politics4Future is a teacher education project aimed to foster the capacities of pre-service teachers on SDG 4.7 through the development and implementation of curriculum which brings together  Education for Sustainable Development, Global Citizenship Education and political learning. Youth representatives from the German UNESCO Commission and the project partners participate in an advisory group to support the development and implementation of the Politics4Future curriculum. The next regular digital meeting will take place in November bringing perspectives from Dublin and Paris.

This article was written by Uno Tuvshinbayar, a student at Leuphana and team member of the project P4F.

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