AuSSI - Policy context
Stakeholders at all levels within the Australian education community have a strong commitment to education for sustainability . This commitment is confirmed and described in the following key policy documents, which form a strong foundation for AuSSI's development and implementation.
Educating for a Sustainable Future: A National Environmental Education Statement for Australian Schools
Published in 2005, this statement provides the first ever nationally agreed description of the nature and purpose of environmental education for sustainability for Australian schools. It was developed in response to the need for a more consistent approach to environmental education, in order to better equip students, teachers and school communities with the knowledge, values, skills and motivation to support ecologically sustainable development.
The statement provides a national reference point for environmental education and is used with existing state and territory policies and programs. It highlights a range of sound approaches to quality teaching and school administration to enhance environmental education for sustainability for the whole school community. AuSSI seeks to support schools to implement the principles and practices espoused in this statement.
Caring for Our Future: The Australian Government Strategy for the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, 2005-2014
This strategy, published in 2007, is the Australian Government's response to the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development 2005-2014. It sets out a vision, goal and strategies to foster sustainable development through education and learning.
The Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians
This declaration, released in 2008 and endorsed by all Australian education ministers through the then Ministerial Council on Education, Training, Employment and Youth Affairs, highlights a number of educational goals for young Australians. Included is the goal for all young Australians to become 'active and informed citizens' who 'work for the common good, in particular sustaining and improving natural and social environments' and 'are responsible global and local citizens' (Goal 2). In this declaration, all Australian governments have committed to achieving the stated goals through a number of identified actions. One of these actions is that 'a focus on environmental sustainability will be integrated across the curriculum'.
Australian Sustainable Schools Initiative: A Partnership Statement for the Australian Government and the states and territories
This statement was endorsed by all Australian environment ministers through the Environment Protection and Heritage Council in 2008, and defines the partnership between the Australian Government and the states and territories in relation to AuSSI. It sets out AuSSI's nature and context, AuSSI's vision, goals and strategies for action, governance arrangements, and protocols for partnership operations.
Living Sustainably: The Australian Government's National Action Plan for Education for Sustainability
Released in 2009, the plan's vision is for all Australians to have the awareness, knowledge, skills, values and motivation to live sustainably. It aims to achieve this by ensuring educational activities take a coordinated, holistic approach to social, economic and environmental issues. Strategy 2 of the plan, 'reorientating education systems to sustainability', highlights the importance of having a transformative approach to education, involving whole-of-institution engagement, innovative teaching and learning, and changes to curricula. The expansion of AuSSI is specifically identified as an action to support work in the schools area under this strategy.
The Sustainability Curriculum Framework
Released in 2010, this framework provides information and guidance to curriculum writers and policy makers on how education for sustainability may be structured to support a progression of learning from Kindergarten to Year 10. It describes what students may need to learn in order to live sustainably and considers the most appropriate times and environments in which these learnings should occur.