Our Education for Sustainable Development Curriculum in One View

Our Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) curriculum emerged as a means to address the need we saw in merging science knowledge and practical skills to real issues we encountered in the USA, India, Myanmar, Ghana, Rwanda, Uganda, Nigeria as we implemented projects. The curriculum development and curation process reaffirmed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be a great reference for framing the issues the curricula addresses. Please read on for more information!


The ICT Center Model devised by Center for Sustainable Development (CSD)'s education team led by Dr. Radhika Iyengar and Infrastructure for Sustainable Development (i4SD)'s Joaquin Aviles Lopez trains young women and men on computer, English, business/financial and life skills and environmental awareness to prepare them for local employment opportunities in a solar-powered Center.

The main curriculum framework, contents and assessments were developed at CSD by Haein Shin, with contextualization of content done at site levels in consultation with local education facilitators and coordinators. While the Model plays out in various forms depending on site specifications, the ICT Center is intended to also supply clean energy to the Center as well as its surroundings. The longer-term vision is to enable income-generating activities with solar-provided electricity.

In some sites, existing vocational training centers were targeted for partnership so that the ICT Center curriculum can further support existing skills training. Rather than being a standalone curriculum, the curriculum incorporates application to real life examples and situations as much as possible, in both IT skills as well as communication, marketing, scenarios for job readiness and preparation.

Strong elements of affective education, whereby the trainees' aspirations, dreams and feelings aligned to their personal and interpersonal growth, is emphasized as one of the foundational considerations in content development. The humanistic approach of Carl Rogers influenced the framework of the curricular approach, with mental and emotional health of learners considered as the foremost criteria for successful curriculum implementation. The few elements deemed as key to a successful curricula experience as articulated by Rogers, included (Ellis, 2004):

  • climate of trust

  • participatory mode of decision making

  • teachers acting as facilitators of learning

  • helping students to prize themselves 


The aim of Science for Everyday Decisions: Education & Environment for Sustainable Development is to translate science research by earth scientists into easily digestible knowledge for the public and masses in all settings around the world, of all educational levels, so that the everyday implications of our footprint on our environment and the need to pressure our businesses, industries and governments for a more sustainable world—are real and felt.


The project is led by Dr. Radhika Iyengar, Director of Education of Center for Sustainable Development (CSD) of Earth Institute, Columbia University and the curriculum framework and pedagogical approaches is designed and curated by Haein Shin, Education Technical Adviser.


We collaborate closely with content experts who are earth scientists at Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, Earth Institute, Columbia University, with initial inputs by Professors Joaquim Goes, Lex Van Geen and Margie Turrin. 

The content also features series of videos with practitioners, experts and activists, including youth, from various industries. Each week, we upload new content on www.edforsd.org.


Fluoride Awareness

Plastic Pollution: Micro plastics, microfibers, micro beads

Plastic Pollution: Reuse for art/fashion


By presenting science that is alive and relevant to the daily lives of students, the Eco Ambassadors program is meant to engage our next generation youth in all places, so that they can begin educating their own communities about local environmental issues and start small steps to solving these issues with community action. It aims to engage interested participants in meaningful ways. Parts of the program uses Design for Change’s Feel-Imagine-Do-Share method. The initiative is in partnership with Sustainable Development Solutions Network's Global Schools Program.

If you are interested in the Eco Ambassador program or starting your chapter, please contact: iyengar@ei.columbia.edu

If you have questions on program contents and activities, please contact: hshin@ei.columbia.edu

Sustainability now or never

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