Indicators for ESD Conference 2012
It is a great challenge to draw or to find some conclusion for a 2-day conference
where we discussed an indicator set for ESD. But not only that. We also discussed
questions of understanding of SD, understanding of ESD and even an understanding
of “good life“ just to mention a few more of our discussion points. I think it is normal
that we had such a broad discussion. Although I want try to make a few comments
on our plenary sessions and working groups, where we tried to find ways to deal with
the indicator set we presented over the past two days.
Yesterday I tried explain the philosophy of our indicator set and pointed out that the
indicators we suggest can play a role on the so called macro-level. We know that the
process of development of ESD indicators is a dynamic process and a process in
which one should integrate experts from science, politicians and practitioners to
make the indicators most acceptable. Antonietta Di Giulio explained this morning the
methodology and the complicated, very intensive and time-consuming process of our
project. Participation played and still plays a very important role, not only because
ESD and participation are very closely combined, but also because we have chosen
a transdisciplinary approach in our work. I want to add a very important point: we
tested our indicators as well, which took us quite a long time and we tried to find out
whether they work or not. In the 2nd edition of our English booklet we will add a few
examples of the concrete description of our indicators for better understanding.
A very important result is that you said the indicator set is helpful for the
implementation of ESD, although you are not happy with some of the indicators we
suggest or the description of the indicators. In the context we discussed the question
of whether one should suggest quantitative or qualitative indicators. The answer is:
perhaps both, although it will be difficult to find the right data for some of them.
Because of that and for other reasons as well it would make sense to combine
quantitative and qualitative indicators. And it became clear in our discussions that
indicators shouldn’t be under-complex. The discussion about costs showed that the
concretisation of our indicator, for example, collecting the data, will need money and
time and will cost more, the more evidence we want to have from the indicators.
We’ve developed indicators on the macro-level. Of course it is right that we still don’t
know what happens on the meso- or micro- level, e.g. what happens in the
institutions, what happens in the classroom or what happens in the lecture hall. I
think on the macro-level we can describe what the situation in the school sector or in
the higher education sector is like and we can find a so-called baseline in both
sectors and we can see what happened in a positive or negative sense in 3 or 4
years. But at the moment we cannot say, for example, what the situation is like in
kindergarten, in adult education or continual education. I think we need some special
indicators for them as well.
We tried to develop an indicator set for the three German-speaking countries. I was
glad to hear that there is an imagination in your heads that the discussion about
ESD-indicators should be internationalised. Antonietta suggested a process of how it
could work. In the transfer workshop you discussed as well ways in which this would
happen and how you can use the set not only with three countries but also in other
countries. Yesterday I was very happy to hear about the idea of organizing an
international project with more countries, perhaps with money from the EU. We will
think about this suggestion and we will inform you whether or how we can start such
a quite difficult process. Or perhaps one of you will take the lead. And we discussed
possibilities for bringing the indicator discussion together with the Bologna-Process
and other processes, for example the quality discussion in some countries which was
mentioned by Charles Hopkins.
I will come to an end and want to thank you for your participation in this conference
and the intensive and fruitful discussions we had over the past two days. And of
course I want to thank our colleagues from Bern for organizing and preparing this
conference. You did a great job. Thank you very much for everything you did.