International Day of Education – 24th January 2024
Every year on the 24th January, people around the world celebrate International Day of Education. This UN awareness day helps to recognise that education is a human right, a public good and a public responsibility. Over 250 million children are out of school, and 763 million adults are illiterate, and without inclusive and quality education, countries will not succeed in achieving gender equality and breaking the cycle of poverty that is leaving millions of children, youth and adults behind. To celebrate this important day, we’re drawing attention to some of the work done within our UNESCO Biosphere to help people learn and develop their skills.
Since being developed in 2022 in partnership with Girvan Primary School, the GSA Biosphere’s Learning for Sustainability Toolkit has now been delivered to 15 schools for 821 pupils. The toolkit is designed to provide inspiration and activity ideas for teachers looking to incorporate Learning for Sustainability into their classes, whilst meeting the Curriculum for Excellence Experience and Outcomes for the range of topics taught. It focuses on the value of learning outdoors and spotlights some of the important and endangered species that live in our UNESCO Biosphere, including black grouse, pine marten, and red squirrels. Topics include ‘Fantastic Flora’ and ‘Bubbling Bogs’ and feature hands-on, experiential learning, with activities ranging from wet felting to bark rubbing (and building a full-size osprey nest!). The full toolkit can be downloaded free here, and is also available to schools in hard copy, free upon request.
We also partnered with South West Scotland Scouts, Girlguiding Dumfries & Galloway and Girlguiding Ayrshire South to create the Biosphere Badge for Scouts and Guides, which launched in 2023. Leaders select six activities from the accompanying booklet which Scouts and Guides must complete to earn their badge. The activities have been designed to provide options for all ages, from Squirrels and Rainbows to Rangers and Explorers. The aim of the activities and badge are to provide young people with a greater understanding of our local heritage and the special environments for which this region is recognised worldwide. With over 350 badges awarded already, it has proven to be a great way to get young people to connect with the UNESCO Biosphere message on a local scale. The booklet can be downloaded free here, and is available in hard copy, free of charge, to Scout and Guide groups on request.
Education is not just for young people and UNESCO Biospheres around the world support and facilitate lifelong learning opportunities. Here in the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere we run a range of free courses for people of all ages, including accredited Carbon Literacy training, Biosphere Footsteps (sustainability workshops), and Biosphere Guide training. Information about all these courses can be found here. If you’d like to find out more about any of our learning programmes and/or book a course for your school or community group, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.