Enviroment & Education

Irish Aid considers basic education for all to be a human right and a prerequisite for sustainable development.

This key sheet is part of a series of awareness raising tools developed by Irish Aid to accompany its Environment Policy for Sustainable Development (awaiting publication). Key strategies for implementing the policy are

i) mainstreaming, where the environment is recognised as a critical part of sustainable development and is taken into account in all policies, programmes, activities and funding decisions; and

ii) partnership, where Irish Aid works with national governments, multilateral organisations, international agencies and civil society organisations to contribute to sustainable development.

The first step in environment mainstreaming is to have an understanding of how the environment is linked to the development challenge or sector YOU are responsible for. The aim of this Key Sheet is to provide preliminary information on why consideration of the environment is an essential part of formal and informal education and to indicate where to find additional information. More detailed guidelines on mainstreaming the environment into the education sector will accompany this sheet at a later date.

Environment matters in education because;

  • Degraded environments contribute to absenteeism. More time spent collecting firewood and water means less time for school.
  • The construction of schools and school facilities can damage the environment through deforestation and pollution.
  • Clean water and safe sanitation are vital to student attendance and student and teacher health.
  • Learning about the environment can develop life skills which future generations can use to protect the environment.