York helps build partnerships to promote quality education for Indigenous people

The launch of the global research initiative hosted by the City of Greater Sudbury and the UNESCO Chair at York University titled ‘Reorienting Education and Training Systems to Improve the Lives of Indigenous Youth’ took place during a three-day conference at Laurentian University’s Indigenous Sharing and Learning Centre.

UNESCO Chair in Reorienting Teacher Education to Address Sustainability, York University Charles Hopkins pictured third from right

The event, which ran Oct. 16 to 18, was the kick-off for the Central and North American regions to engage in research that will examine how schools and education systems can use Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) contexts to better meet the educational needs of Indigenous and marginalized youth to improve their lives.

Representatives from participating countries including Canada, Malaysia, South Africa, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Germany and the U.S. gathered to discuss the design of the global academic research that will include perspectives from traditional communities from approximately 35 countries on five continents. The intent is to gain knowledge on how quality education is defined by Indigenous people, their various government ministries, education structures and stakeholders.

The further objective of the project is to collect examples of good practice about positive effects of addressing relevant social, environmental and economic issues along with local/traditional knowledge from elders and other community members. This will inform researchers on how to deliver a local construct of a quality education, said Charles Hopkins, UNESCO Chair in Reorienting Teacher Education to Address Sustainability, York University.

This first research linked directly to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, in particular SDG target 4.5, is unique in that it is collaboratively undertaken by universities in partnership with Indigenous communities.

The findings that are expected for 2020 will be widely shared with all stakeholders involved, through the global Indigenous networks and with UNESCO member states to inform the newly pledged efforts aimed at improving education outcomes that are in concert with community wishes. Beyond 2020, it is hoped that the research network will continue to collaborate to contribute in meeting the expectations of Agenda 2030.

Visit the UNESCO Chair in Reorienting Teacher Education to Address Sustainability, York University website for more information on the activities of the Chair.

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