11 May 2020

Early Start on the SDGs: School Children Learn the Importance of Sustainability

Nagaoka University of Technology (NUT), a UNAI member institution in Japan and the UNAI SDG Hub for Goal 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, has partnered with local authorities in the city of Mitsuke to foster education and awareness of sustainable development among primary school children.

Mitsuke, a small city located in Niigata Prefecture, is a municipality that has been actively engaged in the advancement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and as part of an initiative of the Japanese government to foster collaboration with local authorities was selected as an “SDGs Future City” by the Japanese Prime Minister Cabinet Office in 2019. The selection was in recognition of the city’s environmentally friendly urban development efforts, disaster risk mitigation efforts, and mainstreaming the SDGs in public policies.

NUT developed the joint project with the city to promote the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) among the city’s elementary school students to contribute to the understanding of global challenges, while nurturing logical thinking. The goal is to have students share the information they’ve learned to their families and the community at large.

The project includes lessons to teach about the SDGs through hands on activities and with the assistance of information and communications technologies such as educational software adapted to children. Lessons are age appropriate, allowing the teaching of complex issues from a realistic yet fun perspective. During the activity, university students informally exchange ideas and information about the 2030 Agenda with elementary school students, the first time many of the children have heard about the SDGs. To further enhance its work in this area, the university participated in the Wakuwaku Experience Study in 2019, an activity held by local authorities to increase interest in sustainability issues and enhance the enjoyment and motivation of students to learn.

The university has also implemented open classes and lectures for parents and teachers in the participating elementary schools. Participants from the university, including faculty and college seniors, will use the results of this project to update curriculum to incorporate sustainability themes and help root the 2030 Agenda throughout society from school age children onward.

During 2020, NUT is implementing and carrying out this initiative with the participation of other local schools based on the recent experiences and feedback received from children, their parents and teachers.

You can learn more about the UNAI SDG Hubs here.