Sustainable development of Russia combines economic development, social and cultural progress, conservation of favorable environment and natural resources with full respect of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right for the development on the basis of spiritual values. To a great extent solution of that complicated task depends on concentration and the degree of development of intellectual potential of the country. At present many sectors of the economy, including strategic ones faced the problem of the lack of qualified personnel. Without competent staff it is difficult to talk about the success of innovative development. Training of personnel — the most important task of the government policy and the basis of success of the strategy of innovative development of the Russian Federation.
During recent decades the term Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is widely used by specialists involved in addressing environmental issues, issues of sustainable development and education at all levels. The notion of ESD is much wider than the notion of environmental education as it unifies educational efforts aimed at solution of problems of economic development, natural environment and the development of human personality. In spite of a wide interpretation of the term “sustainable development” the most widely spread definition was given by the Brundtland Commission: “it is the development that satisfies present generation but does not threaten capabilities of future generations to satisfy their own needs”. In general, sustainable development should be characterized by social justice, economic efficiency and biosphere compatibility at the same time. The concept of sustainable development began to unite socio-cultural, economic, technological characteristics in a single system.
Apart from obtaining knowledge and skills Education for sustainable development facilitates formation of opinions, positions, values, upbringing of a Man and a citizen. Intensification of orientation of education at rejection of unsustainable models of production and consumption, careful attitude to the environment, attaining social stability should facilitate transition to sustainable development.
It is important that orientation of education at sustainable development in contemporary world envisages capability of quick and efficient changes. In fact, it should be aimed at demands not only of the present day, but of the future as well. The latter is especially difficult as pedagogical traditions are based on the understanding of existing knowledge, reproduction of actual ties and relations reflected in social consciousness. The future is somehow always indefinite. It causes the need for searching principally new methodological problems of ESD.
Formation of a system of education for sustainable development is connected with transition to a model of education based on an integrated approach to a man, society and nature, unification of modern scientific knowledge, on humanistic value-ideology arrangements. The basis for a modern concept of education for sustainable development was adopted by the majority of countries of the world twenty years ago at the International conference for environment and development in Rio-de-Janeiro. The importance of transition of countries and peoples to sustainable development was stressed. At the same time, international community came to understanding that the economy should satisfy human needs while seeking for preservation of natural resources and not on the contrary. In Rio-de-Janeiro heads of all countries unanimously adopted one of the most important documents of the present — Agenda 21. It contains formulation of major steps of mankind on the way to sustainable development. In Chapter 36 of the Agenda 21 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”. Thus, education is a basis of sustainable development and integration of elements of sustainable development into the system of education is considered as a critical step on the way to sustainable development.
Agenda 21 focuses attention on the fact that the level of environmental consciousness of present generations does not correspond to the requirements of the time. Therefore, it is necessary to include changes and additions to educational programmes, as well as to develop new ones that correspond to modern realities.
Only high quality education allows to help people to adopt environmental and ethic norms, values and relations, professional skills and new way of life that are necessary to ensure sustainable development. Thus, the basis for making ideas of sustainable development the most important reference point of development of mankind in the 21 century was laid in the end of the 20th century. Education for sustainable development was considered as the most important instrument for a change necessary for attaining sustainable development.
A new push to the development of ESD was made at the World Summit Rio+10 in Johannesburg in 2002 where Declaration on sustainable development was adopted. It reflected commitments of leaders of countries “to create humanistic, equal society, attentive to human problems, that recognizes that every member opf the society has its own human dignity”. 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. According to the decisions of the World Summit on sustainable development in Johannesburg the UN General Assembly (Resolution 57/254) declared in December 2002 that the Decade of education for sustainable development (DESD) would be held in
The topic of education and sustainable development was the main focus of the UN World Summit on sustainable development Rio+20, held in June 2012 in Rio-de-Janeiro. The final documents of the summit underlined 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).
At present, on the background of increasing importance of ESD in contemporary world, the perception forms indicating that engineering is out of that context. 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.
Engineers are always involved in constructive preparation of projects of the development of the society. Therefore they are always in direct and close contact with natural environment. Engineers should always 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. Position of one of the greatest geographers of the 20th century, Gilbert White is consonant with that idea: “... I clearly feel that I should not start the research if it does not promise results that allow to move towards objectives that excite people, and till I am not ready to make all practical steps for transforming result into action” (G. White, 1990, p. 385). In other words engineers should not develop such technologies, introduction of which causes degradation of nature or growth of poverty for population, for such technologies turn out to be “unsustainable”. 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.
It is notable, that on the first day of his presidency (May 7, 2012), President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir 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
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). One of the main tasks formulated in the above document is formation of environmental culture, development of environmental education and upbringing that should be addressed with the help of the following mechanisms: a) formation in all layers of the society, first of all among the youth, environmentally responsible ideology; a) state support for dissemination through mass media of information of environmental and resource saving orientation, as well as holding of thematic events; c) inclusion of issues of environment protection in new educational standards; 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; d) state support for activities of educational institutions implementing training in the field of environment protection; e) 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; f) 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. Education for sustainable development should be oriented at indicators and instruments of implementing the concept of @green@ economy within the framework of sustainable development and prevention of poverty. In other words, modern society needs creatively thinking specialists whose formation of personality starts with their involvement in research work. Namely in that process capabilities of obtaining new knowledge, developing principally new engineering decisions are formed.
Among important mechanisms for addressing those issues is activation of holding of special workshops, conferences competitions in universities with participation of interested representatives of knowledge-intensive business. The most useful approach envisages organization of special competitive scientific, scientific technical events. Of primary importance in that regard is holding of competitions for identification of best research works of students and post-graduates that might be introduces in production. Moreover, the most merited students get additional chance to be marked by potential employers and get favorable proposals on employment.
In order to facilitate innovative development and implement approaches of sustainable development in 2014 Cadaster Institute with the support of Yaroslavl State Technical University organized a special competition among students and masters within the framework of annual All-Russian Scientific-Technical Conference organized by the University. The competition was held according to the Agreement on cooperation between Yaroslavl State Technical University and Cadaster Institute.
The competition is named after Lev Knyazkov who made a great contribution to increasing sustainability of development and rational natural resource use in Yaroslavl Region.
We invite everybody who wants to participate in the competition, as this is a perfect chance to bring to life all the ideas and projects, to get expert assessment of the work!