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The Reality of Education for Sustainable Development in Japan: Elementary Education in Focus
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences.
2012 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Since the inception of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (UNDESD) in 2005, which followed a proposal from the Japanese government jointly with Japanese NGOs, Education for SustainableDevelopment (ESD) has become a passionately debated topic among Japanese researchers. Several projects and ESD curricula have been implemented throughout the country, though at very different paces depending on thelocal conditions.

Research conducted on the field, along with a review of the Japanese literature about ESD, became the foundationfor this paper, which explores the mechanisms put in place in Japan to help the promotion of ESD. Additionally, this report provides an analysis of some of the initiatives taken by Japanese elementary schools to make the nextgeneration one that will be able to better understand and cope with the challenges of the future.

As the Decade is slowly drawing to an end, this is also the opportunity to share and present unique ideas which do not easily find their way out to the non-Japanese-speaking community, and therefore contribute to improving thepractice of ESD internationally. Although ESD curriculum model programs will be examined, this study focusesprimarily on highlighting the strengths of ESD in Japan and pointing out the difficulties and barriers to a fast andsmooth expansion of ESD to all Japanese elementary schools.

Through the analysis of the main implementation mechanisms and the study of how ESD actually works in Japan, it appears that both an adequate network and efficient ESD curriculum models exist and are available to assist theimmediate expansion of ESD to all Japanese elementary schools. On the other hand, the lack of proper training programs to make teachers effective ESD practitioners, as well as the flagrant lack of political will to make ESD areality in the classroom, are hurdles which will in all likelihood take some time to overcome.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 52 p.
Examensarbete vid Institutionen för geovetenskaper, ISSN 1650-6553 ; 96
Keyword [en]
Sustainable Development (SD), Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), Japan, Elementary Education, Environmental Education (EE), Regional Centers of Expertise (RCE)
National Category
Natural Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-191636OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-191636DiVA: diva2:586002
Subject / course
Sustainable development
Educational program
Master Programme in Sustainable Development
2012-09-12, Department of Earth Sciences, Villavägen 16, 752 36, Uppsala, 17:13 (English)
Life Earth Science
Available from: 2013-01-10 Created: 2013-01-10 Last updated: 2013-01-10Bibliographically approved

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