RCE Hangzhou - 2020

Comprehensive Program on “Integrating socio-economic Aspects into ESD Teaching and Curricula by Emphasizing the Labor Market Relevance”
Basic Information
Title of project : 
Comprehensive Program on “Integrating socio-economic Aspects into ESD Teaching and Curricula by Emphasizing the Labor Market Relevance”
Submitting RCE: 
RCE Hangzhou
Contributing organization(s) : 
Zhejiang International Studies University, German Hanns Seidel Foundation Zhejiang Office
Focal point(s) and affiliation(s)
Prof. Dr. Wu Weidong
Organizational Affiliation: 
Dean of School of Education, Zhejiang International Studies University
Janne Leino (Mr.)
Organizational Affiliation: 
Director, Hanns Seidel Foundation (Zhejiang Office)
Format of project: 
Series of Activities and Courses based on a developed Action Plan
Language of project: 
English, Chinese
Date of submission:
Saturday, October 31, 2020
This project reflects the goals of the GAP and the new framework “ESD 2030” for transformative education.
At what level is the policy operating?: 
The project also contributes to reaching the pledges of the European Union and China to be climate neutral by 2050/2060.
At what level is the policy operating?: 
Development of education standards/curricula in Zhejiang province/China.
At what level is the policy operating?: 
Geographical & Education Information
Address of focal point institution for project: 
Rm 301, Building Wang-C, No.299 Liuhe Rd, Xihu District, Hangzhou
Socioeconomic and environmental characteristics of the area : 
The Province of Zhejiang and its capital Hangzhou form a cradle of Chinese civilization. Moreover, the region is a powerhouse of economic development in China. The natural environment of Zhejiang includes rivers, streams, lakes and mountains – West Lake scenery area in Hangzhou is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site. As the population structure transforms from rural to urban and the development of urban culture(s) diversifies, environmental awareness is increasing. Chinas pledge to become climate neutral has intensified the trend. This leads to a situation where public authorities as well as education providers are looking to develop new methods and policies that support sustainable development. Currently in many projects a focus is laid on short term projects that emphasize direct environmental impact (water quality measurement etc). Mid and long term socio-economical aspects are often underrepresented.
Description of sustainable development challenge(s) in the area the project addresses: 
1. The public is not aware of the sustainable development goals and does not know how to contribute to sustainable development. Civic engagement and awareness, despite newly made government policies and pledges, remains low.
2. Most education providers cannot distinguish between education for sustainable development and environmental education. The socio-economical aspects of ESD are underrepresented in teaching and learning materials. Specifically, companies as well as international and civic organizations are often not integrated into educational ESD programs. From the student’s point of view many ESD projects remain on a superficial level and do not offer enough food for thought for solving practical problems or changing habits. Moreover, ESD projects and classes often do not showcase pathways for long-term individual career planning, which would further emphasize the importance of sustainable development in general.
June, 2020
1. During the 12th Asia-Pacific RCE Regional Meeting we noticed that ESD projects are mostly promoted by the education sector and lacks the involvement of companies and government actors. This view was shared within the Chinese RCE community and written down in a declaration of 6 Chinese RCEs during the 12th AP-Meeting in Hangzhou (http://www.rcenetwork.org/portal/sites/default/files/Declaration%20%28English%20and%20Chinese%29%20with%20signatures.pdf )
2. Based on the 2019 declaration RCE Hangzhou initiated an internal working group, which then formulated an action plan on implementing more socio-economical aspects into RCE Hangzhous ESD projects, making them more relevant for the job market. This plan that aimed for (1) integrating aspects from working life and companies into its ESD projects – ideally contributing to the participating companies’ innovation capacity while simultaneously training students and teachers, (2) upscale local ESD programs to involve international organizations and making them available for a wider audience, thus also showcasing the international dimension of ESD.
3. The outbreak of coronavirus disease affected all the planned activities. Almost all offline activities had to be canceled of moved to a later date. A series of online and mix-learning projects were agreed upon. (see activities)
1. Formulate an action plan and involve a greater variety of stakeholders (companies, universities and NGOs) for ESD projects that aim to increase working life relevant skills for students and teachers, showcase career paths and stimulate innovation, behavior change as well as an exchange between Europe and China
2. Integrate the planned offline and online activities related to the above mentioned topics into school and university curricula
3. Create a new course on ESD
4. Form a core group of stakeholders that wish to deepen the collaboration within ESD and plan further activities
Activities and/or practices employed: 
The action plan entailed three main activities which were to carried out during Autumn 2019 (partly until the end of 2020):
1. Webinar Week on “Cradle to Cradle Design – Powering the Circular Economy” (organized mainly by students) (06/20)
In the webinar week (4 days, 9 webinars, 14 invited speakers from Europe and China) RCE Hangzhou partnered with seven organizations from China and Europe to bring together academia, NGOs and companies on the topic circular economy. Particular topics included: Cradle to Cradle (C2C Design – practical implementation), From Waste to Circular economy, C2C for buildings, Positive fashion - in sustainable clothing, healthy printing (…).
2. Development and implementation of an ESD Course for Students (09/20-, 01/21, ongoing)
Building on the Webinar Week, a whole course curriculum on ESD was designed and implemented at the Zhejiang International Studies University. The course is open for all students and follows a hybrid teaching form (offline/online/visits). Altogether 16 lectures were designed for the autumn period.
3. Online Series “Europe and China: Trendsetters in Sustainable Development?” (11/20-12/20)
Embedded in the ESD course is an online seminar that is open also for the general public. In altogether 4 webinars experts from Europe and China, representing UN (UNFCCC, UNITAR) ministries, companies, NGOs and the civic sector, are debating how and if Europe and China can reach climate neutrality by 2050 / 2060. RCE Hangzhou and the Hanns Seidel Foundation will also offer a certificate of achievement for all learners who participate in all events and successfully complete an online test.
Size of academic audience: 
279 participants attended the webinar week from Europe and South East Asia and China; ESD course: 30 Students; Online series – open for all stakeholders and the general public: still ongoing (final audience number expected to be around 300)
1. Externally – partners and participants:
Managed to strengthen and build a network of companies and other stakeholders who continuously engage in ESD projects by offering expertise, financing and by showcasing possible career paths for students. Moreover, impulses for concrete behavioral models (fashion, clothing, printing) were discussed with a wide audience.
2. Internally (University level):
Transformed the curricula of the Zhejiang International Studies University to include a specific ESD course (offered to all students at the university).
Founded a working group that trains teachers and students that are motivated to carry on the work continuously
3. Future spin-off projects in initiation phase:
Creating teacher training materials with tech companies and NGOs. Topic: How to integrate “Integrated Waste Management” in curricula and teaching.
Lessons learned: 
1. Through online platforms a wider audience can be reached. Nevertheless, online seminars cannot make up for offline learning. Due to corona containment measures, most of the planned visits to companies and external organizations had to be canceled or postponed until 2021.
2. The ESD activities should also in the future bring different actors together, including companies, civic organizations, researchers and education providers. On the one hand this increases the holistic approach of ESD projects into to social-economic sphere, and on the other it opens career paths and increases the exchange between the youth and the surrounding community. The difficulty is to get these actors involved in educational work – that’s why win-win-situations should be in the core the engagement.
Key messages: 
RCE Hangzhou carried out a program that focused on:
Integrating companies as well as civic society actors into ESD projects, showcasing students and teachers the socio-economic aspects of ESD and contributed to behavioral change.
Created a new course and a ESD curricula within a university.
Relationship to other RCE activities: 
Previously RCE Hangzhou has developed ten-module ESD Curriculums, including teaching and learning materials, based on local characteristics and school needs. Ten of these partner schools are still active in the network. Teachers from these schools participated in the above mentioned actions.

Additionally, RCE Hangzhou published a book titled “Education for Sustainable Development in Primary Education: Curriculum Design based on Sino-German Research”. This book was used as a best-practice example during the trainings.

Based on the publications and the current program at hand, a cooperation on developing learning materials regarding “Waste Management” is in the launching phase.
The main funding comes from the Zhejiang International Studies University and from the Hanns Seidel Foundation. External funding was used for the webinar week and for the online seminars – these came mostly from participating companies as well as research institutes.


File Name Caption for picture Photo Credit
Image icon C2C Webinar Week Poster.jpg (112.99 KB) C2C Webinar Week Poster P. Hertling
Image icon Webinar Screenshot.png (1.15 MB) Screenshot for Cradle to Cradle Webinar Y. Yu
Image icon ESD Course.jpg (287.42 KB) First Class of the ESD Course in ZISU Y. Yu
Image icon Working committee meeting.jpg (119.24 KB) ESD working committee meeting Y. Yu
Image icon ESD Workshop.jpg (209.51 KB) Discussions about socio-economic impacts of ESD, Project planning Y. Yu
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
(https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs) and other themes of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
SDG 4 - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all 
SDG 6 - Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all 
SDG 7 - Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all 
SDG 8 - Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all 
SDG 9 - Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation, and foster innovation 
SDG 10 - Reduce inequality within and among countries 
SDG 11 - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable 
SDG 12 - Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns 
SDG 13 - Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts 
SDG 15 - Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss 
SDG 16 - Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels 
SDG 17 - Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development 
Traditional Knowledge  
Curriculum Development 
Plants & Animals 
ESD for 2030-Priority Action Areas
Priority Action Area 1 - Advancing policy 
Priority Action Area 2 - Transforming learning and training environments 
Priority Action Area 3 - Developing capacities of educators and trainers 
Priority Action Area 4 - Mobilizing youth 
Priority Action Area 5 - Accelerating sustainable solutions at local level