RCE Tongyeong ESD Course Included Within Formal School Curriculum, Moves Online During COVID-19

Since 2015, RCE Tongyeong has worked on the development of a middle-school ESD course. In collaboration with the Provincial Office of Education, it has now been included within the formal school curriculum from this year, with 800 students in all 12 middle schools in Tongyeong due to take the ESD course. RCE Tongyeong had trained seven ESD instructors for this project, but unfortunately all schools stopped operating in-person since mid-April due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and have switched to online in the meantime. To adapt to this virtual schooling situation, RCE Tongyeong has provided 15 online ESD classes through one subject to schools, to support both schools and teachers. Furthermore, a remote training program will be launched for teachers and the general public.

RCE Tongyeong has developed ESD courses for teachers, students and citizens since 2005. Based on these experiences, Tongyeong was designated as an ESD-leading city among the Gyeongnam province by the Provincial Office of Education in March. In South Korea, all middle school students take a one-year course to explore their future career, called the 'free year system'. As part of the free year curriculum, every middle school in Tongyeong is including ESD subjects. This year, more than two-thirds of the students will take this ESD class provided by RCE Tongyeong. This class offers 14 to 17 lessons according to each school's schedule. Students will learn a variety of topics, from 'Needs and Wants' to 'Creating Green Jobs'.

In order to overcome the challenging situation caused by COVID-19, RCE Tongyeong has provided video lessons including interactive activities to make it fun and easy for students to understand ESD. School teachers and school inspectors have been pleased and grateful for RCE Tongyeong's prompt and effective response. When schools reopen in June, trained ESD instructors will visit each school and continue the classes in more participatory ways as previously planned.

(Photo credit: RCE Tongyeong)

South Korea