Int’l forum tackles education for sustainable dev’t

By Daniel P. Tapaoan, Jr. 


Around 500 academicians, lecturers, and students around the globe convened in a virtual forum held today, December 7, to share best practices, policies, and other pandemic-responsive programs for quality education. 


The 9th International Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) that was hosted by the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) served as a platform for knowledge exchange and professional networking among universities. 


It is a collaborative venture by the JPTI6 Sustainable Development Consortium composed of MMSU, Shizuoka University (SU) in Japan, Srinakharinwirot University (SWU) and Burapha University (BUU) in Thailand, Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia (UPI) and Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) in Indonesia.


With the theme “ESD in the New Normal,” the forum aimed to present the initiatives of these universities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These are related to five priority action areas: policy, learning environments, building capacities of educators, youth, and local level action. 


It involved five breakout sessions on the following topics: Advancing Educational Policies; Transformative Interventions in Innovating Academic, Research, and Development Environments; Capacities and Competency Building of Global Educators; Mobilization and Youth Empowerment; Acceleration of Local Actions and Community Empowerment. 


Dr. Ethel Agnes Valenzuela, director of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) Secretariat, keynoted the opening program of the forum. “The ESD concept has to be integrated into the teacher education curriculum and relevant teacher training institutions in the region to achieve quality and equity in education,” she stressed. 


“The role of education institutions in attaining SDGs cannot be overemphasized,” said MMSU President Shirley C. Agrupis, urging the participating universities to “work as one to accelerate education polices, drive international responses, spur innovation, and promote competency building.”


Dr. Agrupis expressed hope the forum “will give way to stronger partnerships as we aim to establish equitably progressive education where students become active agents of global transformation.”


Dr. Mee Jay A. Domingo, overall coordinator of the ESD’s Steering Committee and director for MMSU External Linkages and Partnerships, expressed delight for the University’s first-ever hosting of the international forum. He attributed this feat to the partner-universities and the University administration who supported MMSU in this undertaking.


Pledge of Agreement signed

To formalize the establishment of JPT6 SDC, a pledge of agreement was signed by MMSU President Agrupis, SU President Kazuyuki Hizume, SWU President Somchai Santiwatanakul, UPI President M. Solehuddin, UGM President Panut Mulyono, and BUU President Watcharin Gasaluck during the opening program of the forum. 


They jointly vowed to promote research collaborations in scientific and academic activities; develop international and scientific publications; apply global standards in ESD to the fields and areas of the members; create a communication and intermobility network among the members; and conduct conferences.


Watch the opening program thru this link: (StratCom)