RCE Oldenburger Münsterland-2016

1. Project Title: 
MetESD - Methods for ESD-competencies and curricula
2. Thematic area/s addressed by the project
Select your options: 
Other (please clarify) : 
TVET - Technical Vocational Education and Training
Strategic partnership on a regional level
Curriculum Development
3. Project partner contact information : 
RCE Oldenburger Münsterland
Initiator - Global Netorking
Main Contact: 
University of Vechta
Management and coordination
4. Project type
5. Project description
Provide a short description of the project including strategies, regional challenges, aims and specific project activities.: 

Met ESD is joint project of University of Vechta (Germany), University of Daugavpils (Latvia) and KPH Krems (Austria) on the academic side. The vocational school BBS Friesoythe, Germany and Technical Vocational school Daugavpils, Latvia carry out the project and the curriculum development. The project will be evaluated by Glenn Strachan Ltd.

RCE Rhine-Meuse, RCE BEnE Munich, RCE Oldenburger Münsterland initiated MetESD.

THe UNESCO-subnetwork BBCC (Baltic Sea and Black Sea Circle Consortium) was the initial platform of MetESD. MetESD undertakes its activities through different europeanwide networks. This networks link and foster interaction and learning among diverse institutions of TVET stakeholders in the area of capacity development,

MetESD advocates for various aspects of TVET in terms of relevance, quality, image, access, capacity, efficiency and effectiveness and focuses on two major thematic areas:

• ESD in VET - with an emphasis on skills development.

• Youth employment - with an emphasis on connecting formal and informal sectors of VET.

MetESD refers to a range of learning experiences for ESD that are relevant to the world of work and take place in a variety of learning contexts, including in the formal, non-formal and informal sector. A fundamental purpose of the project is to equip people with basic capabilities that can broaden their opportunities for an sustainable attitude and life-style and provide them with basic skills necessary to find appropriate employment. A well-educated population contributes to a country’s competitiveness, prosperity and social inclusion. Technological and societal developments, environmental degradation and scarcity of resources are changing the characteristics of work and demand that VET has to develop skills and provide knowledge with an focus on sustainable development.

MetESD contributes to this process by providing a methodological and systemic approach (basic skills in four modules) and helps schools to develop a training and curricula that matches evolving labour-market requirements. At the school level, the support focuses on activities and measures needed for an integrated, balanced and inclusive whole-institution development approach.

Across europe in the last decade youth employment rates have fallen. According to some recent figures from the ILO, more than one in eight of all 15- to 24-year-olds are not in employment, education, or training. One of the main reasons for high youth unemployment is a growing mismatch between the supply and demand for skills. This skills mismatch has often two forms:

• excess supply of skilled workers with a shortage of skilled jobs,

• young people may simply lack the basic skills.

The MetESD-concortium believes that VET has a key role to play in tackling youth unemployment. However, to have a significant effect on youth employment in an era of rapid technological change and globalization, VET schoolsneed to adapt, adjust or even transform their existing curricula. MetESD shows how the transformation could look like in practice. It shows the role of the private sector and civil society in contributing to it on a local and regional level. MetESD work out in what ways the curricula, the content could be changed and which structures and processes are needed to support these objectives.

And last but not least MetESD shows how we can ensure that the voice and opinions of young people are heard and taken account of? In this context we have been collecting promising practices from our partner organizations that aim to improve the skills of young people and strengthen their performances in a changing labour-market. Some of these promising practices have already been presented and discussed in our different networks.

Against the background of situation analysis, empirical data base and project reports worldwide, the following can be observed concerning the current state of education for sustainable development (ESD) within the vocational training:

1. ESD has a missing character within vocational training and is only retained in curricula frameworks. Hence the question and challenge how can ESD be implemented in vocational curricula and school-based curricula.

2. The above mentioned projects point out that there are many individual efforts, a national or regional strategy, however, can not be identified. Here, the individual efforts are focused on ESD as "environmental education" mostly. This results in the need to convey sustainable development also from a social/cultural and economic perspective. What is true in some projects from a content perspective, but has been elaborated unclearly, is to what extent ESD can be integrated as a holistic approach into each subject. Hence the challenge of developing key competencies for sustainable development, which illustrate a compatibility to the skills that are formulated in vocational curricula.

3. ESD also is in need of a specific methodological approach that particularly is often neglected in the vocational education. The methodological approach presupposes interactive use of media and tools, interaction in heterogeneous groups and independent action (OECD). The challenge is to train teachers to be able to teach key competencies with respective teaching methods. Here we refer to the discussion of United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, Steering Committee on Education for Sustainable Development published in UNECE (2012): Learning for the future: Competencies in Education for Sustainable Development. The important thing is not the knowledge of this action and student-centered methods, but the practicing and training on the job.

4. Furthermore the school culture and the work oriented curricula pose a difficulty for the implementation of ESD content in the classroom. This results in two requests, firstly, how to assess technical and interdisciplinary skills of students and secondly to what extent are the needs of the potential future employees covered within the frame of ESD. It is clear from the reports that especially students with learning and performance difficulties do not respond to the traditional way of teaching, and thus their entrepreneurial capacities are not challenged.

The key objective of the project is the implementation of key competencies for (E)SD by the medium of four teaching modules into the technical and academic curricula of vocational schools. The developed and tested ESD modules  are that designed they can easily be integrated into professional curricula, because their content is oriented towards interdisciplinary key competencies.

Methodologically the modules are action-oriented, student-centered , and they allow a high self-participation of students. All teaching modules are pratice-oriented and partly require collaboration with regional companies in order to strengthen job-orientation. With this project we aim to increase the students learning competencies, social competencies (civil engagement), self-initiative and entrepreneurship skills. The teachers of the participating vocational schools can better adjust within their teaching to students with learning and performance difficulties and therefore achieve sustainable learning outcomes. The schools‘ subject-related and interdisciplinary learning opportunities/courses will be expanded by the Europe-wide job-related significant theme "Sustainable Development", which increases the employability and entrepreneurship skills of students. The schools will be provided with an assessment instrument in order to measure the learning outcomes related to the learnig style and challenges of the individual students. In all schools an innovation process with the aim of a curriculum development related to education for sustainable development are conducted and supported by the school principles and school administration. All schools report on the results of the project in their respective regional and europeanwide networks, especially in the Regional Centre of Expertise and thus contribute to the valorisation. The participating educational institutions implement the trainings into their program.


6. Project status
On Going
MetESD based on prior research conducted on participatory and innovative approaches to learning and teaching as sustainability (BenE München e.V., Forum Umweltbildung). Apart from that does it include research conducted by the University of Vechta (Detlev Lindau-Bank/Lukas Scherak/Marco Rieckmann) focusing on school and curriculum development. The proposal goes along with the UNECE discussion and expands it towards a practice-oriented transfer into the school curricula.
The innovative aspect of this project is its cross-sectoral approach instead of having a one-sided sectoral focus. The proposal uses the previous results by not only providing teacher training but also by working on the implementation of these methods through a school-curriculum based consultancy.
Further to that does this project have a network-based approach. This means that all participating schools are either highly involved and embedded in regional, national or international networks. All participating schools are experienced in ESD-projects. The exchange of experiences and project ideas will lead to an added value and a higher level of performance.
Education for sustainable development is existent but not widely in use. There are innovative schools and/or projects but it is not part as and of the national curriuculum. It is not on the agenda, emphasis on guidelines/principles or poorly decribed within the different schools curricula. Another issue is the teachers lack of time to prepare new materials and the top-down approach, when something new comes into play, it is enforced on the teachers.
Another issue is the vast amount of pedagogical material available and the problem of not seeing the forest for all the trees. Therefore one of the ideas of this project is the conglomeration of these materials and making them more easily accessible.
Another limitation is the difficulty of adapting these materials for a classroom setting and the current knowledge of teachers on innovative & participatory pedagogical and didactical approaches to teaching.
Within the project a didactical concept of ESD (see text on 4 ESD-modules) is implemented in professional and interdisciplinary curricula.
This educational concept seeks to convey key competencies for (E)SD within 4 modules that are sector and subject independently. This shall then be implemented into concrete teaching scenarios.
The transfer of this concept is guaranteed by the fact that a suitable teacher training concept (KPH Krems Forum Environmental Education, BenE Munich e.V.) is provided as well as a school development consultancy (see attachment on school development consultation) with the aim, to assist the educational and organizational implementation process.

All participating teachers are taught the didactic concept in two multi-day training sessions, there is particular value placed on the teaching of action-oriented and innovative teaching and learning methods, as for example described within the frame of co-operative learning (cf. Norman Greene: 2005) and the concepts of non-violent communication.

An external evaluation by Glenn Strachan Ltd. and self-evaluation by a peer review of so-called "critical friends" shall assess the possibilities and difficulties of implementation, in order to secure the quality of curriculum development.
The implementation of modules in the subjects with a focus on students with learning disabilities is to make a contribution to the motivation and entrepreneurship concerning the above-mentioned clientele.
The dissemination of this project in regional networks shall facilitate the participation of companies in order to create a practice-oriented curriculum.
The dissemination in national and European networks serves to strengthen national and European efforts to anchor ESD into vocational training.
8. Tagging