The promotion of education
The promotion of education

Specialists of “Cadaster” institute actively participate in the training of staff members for implementing research activities and systemic engineering, including development of and implementation of projects on environmental engineering, sustainable development efficient natural resource use and environment protection. Wide recognition of education and closely related upbringing and enlightenment as a key factor of transition to sustainable development stipulated appearance of a new civilization phenomenon at the frontiers of centuries. It was called education for sustainable development (ESD). ESD is wider than customary environmental education as it unifies educational efforts aimed at addressing issues of economic development, environment protection and harmonized development of human personality. Apart from acquisition of knowledge and skills ESD also facilitates formation of vision, position, values, upbringing of a man and a citizen.

The process of education for sustainable development lasts for more than 20 years. It actively develops in many countries and regions. Modern concept of education for sustainable development to a great extent is based on agreements on the development of environmental education, such as Tbilisi Declaration (UNESCO-UNEP, 1977), Salonika Declaration (UNESCO, 1997), Belgrade Charter (UNESCO-UNEP, 1975). The concept is based on the “Agenda 21” adopted by the heads of states in 1992 at the UN Conference on Environment and Development. Thus, in the Chapter 36 of the Agenda 21 that is entitled “Promoting Education, Public Awareness and Training” it was underlined that “education is critical for promoting sustainable development and improving the capacity of people to address environment and development issues”. A new push to the development of ESD was made at the World Summit “Rio+10” in Johannesburg in 2002 году. One of the most important issues there was connected with the discussion of transition to a new type of education capable of proving possibility for every human to participate in addressing and prevention of social, economic and environmental issues. Specialists of the whole world were proposed to create effective measures of education that might make attitude of people to environment more responsible. A decade of environment protection was also declared.

In the final document of the UN World Summit on sustainable development “Rio+20”, held in June 2012 in Rio-de-Janeiro, entitled “The Future we want” the necessity “to promote Education for Sustainable Development and to integrate sustainable development more actively into education beyond the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development” (item 233). Within the framework of “Rio+20” summit [1] more than 300 universities (including Russian ones) promulgated voluntary statement called “Commitment of higher education institutions in relation to practices of ensuring sustainability in connection with the UN Conference on sustainable development” [2]. Those commitments envisage:

  • Teaching concepts of sustainable development and ensuring that they make up part of the main educational programme in all disciplines, allowing future graduates to form a society capable of valuing people, our planet and benefits with the account of limited resources of the Earth;
  • Encouragement of research on issues of sustainability for better understanding through exchange of scientific and technological knowledge, strengthening development, adaptation, dissemination and transfer of knowledge, including new and innovation technologies;
  • Ensuring environment-friendliness of university campuses by decreasing “environmental footprint” due to increasing efficiency of the use of energy, water and material resources in our buildings and on our objects and providing possibilities of mobility on sustainable principles to students and professors;
  • Support to efforts on providing sustainable development in places of location of universities on the basis of cooperation with local authorities and civil society in order to assist in formation of more favorable conditions for living;
  • Participation in international framework initiatives and exchange of their results, such as UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development by UNESCO, the system of UN University, UN Academic impact, UN Global Treaty, educational initiative on the principals of responsible governance supported by UN, as well as environmental education and training within the framework of UNEP for exchange of knowledge and experience and regular reporting on obtained progress and emerging challenges.

The national system of education of Russia was among the first in the world that responded to UN initiatives on promoting ESD into practices of teaching, enlightenment, awareness raising and upbringing. First Russian projects in the given sphere started to be implemented already in the end of the 20-th century. The efforts of the national educational society resulted in the formulation of scientific basis of ESD that got wide recognition and endorsement both in Russia and abroad. It was no mere chance that in his speech at the “Rio+20” summit the Chairman of the Russian Government, Mr. Dmitry Medvedev underlined the need for development of sustainable models of production and consumption that might provide for steady growth of economy and remove threats for the environment. He also stressed the inseparability of the society, economy and nature and the importance of innovative growth and growth of energy efficient “green” economy.

At present, on the background of increasing importance of ESD in contemporary world, the perception forms indicating that engineering is out of that context. Global educational community concluded that it is necessary to change the situation for better, as engineers are always involved in constructive elaboration of projects devoted to the development of the society. Therefore, they are always in direct and close contact with natural environment. Engineers should remember that problems of technological development of the society and environment are inseparable and should be addressed jointly and in an integrated manner. A specialist in the field of engineering is obliged to preliminarily assess environmental and social consequences of his actions and, in cases when negative consequences outweigh, abandon that technical idea. In their activities such specialists should be guided by the following principles: improving quality of life; economy of energy consumption; equal possibilities for using environmental amenities to all people; fair access to limited resources to all people; biodiversity conservation.

In 2005 in Vilnius the “UN ECE Strategy for education for sustainable development” was adopted. It was developed on the initiative of the Russian Federation and Sweden. The essence of the Strategy is the following: to turn from a simple transfer of knowledge and skills, necessary for existence in contemporary society, to preparedness to act and live in rapidly changing conditions, participate in planning of social development, learn to envisage consequences of taken action, including possible consequences in the field of sustainability of natural ecosystems and social structures. In particular, it was recognized that there is a need for such changes in engineering programmes that include concepts of sustainability. It was also recognized that apart from theory practices of their implementation in project decisions should also be developed. Moreover, at present an engineer should know how to interact with other participants of project and production activities, possess skills in systemic engineering. In other words, formation of a system of education for sustainable development is connected with transition to a model of engineering education based on a holistic approach to preservation of Life through the increase of viability of the system “Man—Society—Nature”. It envisages unity of contemporary scientific knowledge and humanistic value-outlook purposes.

It is notable, that on the first day of his presidency (May 7, 2012), the President of the Russian Federation, V.V. Putin signed the orders “On measures of implementing the state policy in the field of education and science”; “On the Presidential programme of training of engineering personnel in 2012-2014”. Those important documents were preceded by the endorsement by the President of the Russian Federation of the “Basics for the state policy in the field environmental development of the Russian Federation for the period up to 2030” (30 April, 2012). Among the main tasks of the policy are dissemination of environmental culture, development of environmental education and upbringing. The following mechanisms are envisaged: (1) formation in all layers of the society, first of all among the youth, environmentally responsible ideology; (2) state support for dissemination of through mass media information of environmental and resource saving orientation, as well as holding of thematic events; (3) inclusion of issues of environment protection in new educational standards; (4) ensuring aiming of the process of education and upbringing in educational institutions at formation of environmentally responsible behavior, including through inclusion of relevant requirements on environmental competence of students in federal educational standards; (5) state support for activities of educational institutions implementing training in the field of environment protection; (6) development of a system of education and training in the field of environment protection and ensuring environmental safety for managers and specialists responsible for making economic and other decisions, that might have negative environmental impact; (7) inclusion of issues of formation of environmental culture, environmental education and upbringing in the state, federal and regional programmes. Thus, the task of modernizing economy of the country and its greening are supported by a human factor, educational potential.

The whole activity of the specialists of “Cadaster” institute on facilitation of education for sustainable development is aimed at elaboration of two main competences of students. Firstly, it relates to mastering of skills of integrated, systemic environmental-socio-economic approach to designing natural-anthropogeic complexes and development of programmes of efficient natural resource use and environment protection. Secondly, it is no less important to develop capability of students to elaborate engineering decisions in conditions of rapidly changing factors and conditions. In fact, they should be guided not only by requests of a present day, but also of the future, that is not determined even within the category of risks.

In order to address that strategic issue and to raise the level of training of national engineering specialists “Cadaster” institute established partner ties and signed agreements on cooperation with: