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ISSN : 2092-674X (Print)
ISSN : 2092-6758 (Online)
Asia-Pacific Collaborative education Journal Vol.9 No.1 pp.63-79

Models of Education for Sustainable Development in Korean Elementary Schools: Case Studies in Tongyeong City

Hastangka is a researcher at Pusat Studi Pancasila, Universitas Gadjah Mada and Master student at Faculty of Philosophy Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta Indonesia. He has concern in education, Pancasila Studies, curriculum development, and Civics education. He has been doing research on ESD such as Models of ESD in elementary schools in Indonesia: Case Study in Yogyakarta (2010), Models of ESD in Korean schools: Case study in Tongyeong City, South Korea (2012), Models of Civics Education in Indonesia: Case Study in Java (2010), He was a Sejahtra fellow at Tongyeong city, South Korea in 2012.
Received Date: February, 22, 2013, Revision received Date: March, 25, 2013, Accepted Date: May, 24, 2013


This research paper will describe the currentprocess and practice of Education for sustainabledevelopment (ESD) implementation in Korean schoolsthrough a case study that was carried out in Tongyeongcity. This study is based on a field study and empiricalobservation in South Korea (Tongyeong city), with thesubject of research being 2 schools. The scope of thisresearch focuses on ESD implementation within schoolwhich consists of curricular design, an extracurricularprogram, and learning and teaching model on ESD inthe classroom. There were 2 elementary schools whichwere chosen in this case study in Tongyeong city. Theyare Inpyeong elementary school and Yongnamelementary school. The method of research throughdepth interview, observation, and document review onESD and the analysis in this research includes theprocess and teaching strategy of ESD in schools. Otheranalysis includes extracurricular activities and schoolprograms. The result of this research shows that ESDissues in Korean schools have strongly focused oneight areas; they are improving the basic quality ofeducation, a sustainable and healthily lifestyle,equity, environmental ethics/education, sustainableconsumption and production, democratic sustainably,children protection, cultural understanding. Specially, this research showed that Korean schools has aconcern in a clean plate movement, environmentalawareness, energy saving, and waste management.Meanwhile, in Indonesian schools the emphasis is onenvironmental awareness and cultural preservationand protection. Additional programs related to ESDimplementation were found in extracurricular activitiessuch as field trips, cultural preservation activities andclub activities on environmental protection. Basically,two schools in Tongyeong City have implementedESD in various activities before the term ESD wascreated. It is clear that ESD could develop and increasestudent’s awareness about the environment, life, andthe future of the earth.



 The Rio declaration (1992), principle 1 clearly states that human beings are the centre of concerns for sustainable development. They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature. Environmental problems and human problems have caused ecological and human instability on this earth. Save the Earth for today, tomorrow and the future. The need to seek holistic and comprehensive solutions is urgent. In this case, education has a key role to develop the formula of solutions for a sustainable future. Since the UNU-IAS launched the need of Education for Sustainable Development in 2002. There have been many programs and activities which have stressed this issue. The study and research on climate change, environmental awareness, gender equity, health promotion, sustainable development, biodiversity, and sustainable consumption and production have increased in the last five years. As the earth charter preamble states “… we are one human family and one earth community with a common destiny. We must join together to bring forth a sustainable global society funded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice and a culture of peace…”. It is important to develop and strengthen the education system to seek solutions for a sustainable future.

 Furthermore, many studies and conferences show that the implementation of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in every country is diverse. In addition, there are many Regional Centres of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development exist in each country. The UN itself has targeted the establishment of 200 RCEs in the world by 2015. Since the issues for sustainable development discuss both formal and informal education, the global educational paradigm has changed into a practice and concrete one. There are many programs for teachers, students, stakeholders, government officials, and NGO’s activists who are concerned with providing ESD.

 The most popular ESD program in school is training in ESD and curriculum development in ESD for schools. In this research paper I would like to describe the model of ESD implementation in Korean schools through case study carried in Tongyeong City. My research took place in two schools: Inpyeong elementary school and Yongnam elementary school because this school has been implemented ESD since 2007. This research conducted in Tongyeong City through Sejahtra fellowship organized by RCE Tongyeong, this program has purposes to give an opportunity for young scholars, RCE’s members, researchers, and students from the Asia Pacific region to conduct research in Tongyeong city, South Korea. The purpose of this fellowship is to gain practical experience of ESD practices in Tongyeong city. My research is qualitative research which is to see the model of ESD that implemented in Korean schools especially in elementary schools. My research data is based on empirical observation and depth interview with key persons such as school teachers and students in Tongyeong. In this research, I would like to explore and analysis the model of ESD in two schools used two frameworks. First, the ESD program design, how Korean schools implemented the ESD in learning process and second, how ESD has contribution to education.

 Tongyeong city is well known as a historical city which has a great history of patriotism, cultural and local values. This city has a vision to be the center of the South coast, environmentalfriendly, and a sustainable city. Many policies and initiatives have been developed within this city to realize this vision. The historical values help the Korean nation improve and develop its capacity and competence for the next generation. The moral value within society influences the spirit of ESD. Education without moral values is empty and nothing. Philosophical are the foundation of education. The ideas of ESD develop based on moral values which grow up within society and Education for sustainable development is core part of sustainable living on this earth.

 Meanwhile, the philosophy of sustainable development here are a better life, good welfare, and a sustainable world. For many years the activities of human beings have centered on a search for life for today, tomorrow, and future. Lal underlines that education is a very important asset in building a society or nation (Lal, 2011, p.7) and school as centres of education have to tackle environmental issues in a positive way (see Hens, Luc, 2011, p.70). This thesis shows that the important of sustainable development and education should be realized by human being. Shohel and Howes (2011, p.132) also stresses that Education for sustainable development is about practical and contextualized learning, about how to live a better life and care for the present and future of the earth. Moreover, the critical issues of ESD are how to educate the citizens about living in harmony with nature, balance, and a sustainable world on this earth and how every citizen can gives meaning to their life for future generations? So what kind of education is needed for our future generation to live on this earth? The debate is going to shape what we discuss about sustainability and unsustainability, in which way and how we can make a bridge for this issue.

 Our world will face the many problems, such as environmental destruction, climate change, food scarcity, energy scarcity, over population and problems with clean water. On one hand, the need of human being is increasing continuously. On the other hand, sources of food and life are declining. As Hens,, p.70) pointed out on his introduction to his research “…if the present trends of population growth, pollution and ecological instability will continue, the planet earth’s life support system will be prone to collapse…”.

 In other words, we need to take action through empowering the young generation to take care of this earth. This research will explore and cultivate the development of ESD that has been implemented in school in Tongyeong city. Furthermore, this research paper will highlight ESD models in Korean schools and will seek ways in which education can contribute to sustainable development. The key points in this research will focus on the model of ESD in schools. This study will underline a learning process that is evidence based.

 Since sustainable development need to be transferred into education, one decade on since ESD 2002, the education paradigm in Korea has dramatically changing according to the Korean National Commission for UNESCO (KCNU) the role of ESD in Korea related to sustainability issues is centered on the survival and prosperity of the Korean Peninsula. Recent policy in education shows that the Korean government also released a guidebook for middle school students and teacher on the importance of green growth education in the school in 2012. It means environmental education is not sufficient to accommodate for sustainable development; it is also necessary to consider the different dimensions of green growth.

 The Korean government gives guidance on ESD in many aspects of life such as the economy, social change, environmental education, and innovation of curriculum. Historically, there are three points of view about ESD in Korea. First, According to the Ministry of Environment ESD could be approached as environmental education. Second, based on the Ministry of Education, from the point of view of Science and Technology, ESD is included in the national education curriculum.

 Third, according to the Presidential Commission on Sustainable Development (PCSD), ESD is a comprehensive approach (See Lee, 2008, p.137). Since 2003, ESD status and development in South Korea has shown remarkable progress. This could be explained as follow; in 2003 the PCSD established an expert committee on ESD to discuss the significance of ESD for Korean society. In 2004, the PCSD initiated discussion on ESD beyond the purview of environmental education. In addition, the PCSD also developed a comprehensive policy and its strategy on ESD. In 2005, the President of Korea announced a “national vision for sustainable development” on environmental day.

 Since 2005, the action plan draft on ESD has been improved through deliberation and conference among related ministries, specialists, teachers, and activist. In 2006, a national strategy for sustainable development was approved during a cabinet meeting and an action plan was implemented for 2006-2010. Meanwhile, the vision of ESD at national level is “sustainable development and sustainable society through education” and there are four focuses: (1) sharing the vision of SD at a high level of awareness (2) equipping schools with the capacity to learn and do SD, (3) enforcing communication and strong networking among the stakeholders of SD, (4)participating in the process of establishing SD and creating a sustainable society.

 Starting in 2009, students in Teacher training program and Institute of education were advised to take an ESD course. At local level such as in Incheon city and in Tongyeong city Gyeongsangnamdo they established and operated a RCE (see Kitae, Hyekyung, Lee, 2008, p.60-66).The basic questions that need to be asked to reflect this global agenda are what kind of school system do we want or need in order to achieve ESD programs? Specifically, this study focuses on the role of ESD in the school and its characteristic of ESD in Tongyeong city.

Current situation of education and society in Tongyeong city

 Regarding to education in Tongyeong city, this city has 19 public elementary schools, 10 public Middle schools, 2 private Middle schools and 3 public High schools, and 2 private High schools. This study took place in a number of schools in Tongyeong city that were already chosen at the beginning. They are two High schools, one Middle school and two elementary schools. Issues on sustainable development in Tongyeong city have strong emphasis on environmental issues and ecological inequality such as sea pollution, water pollution caused by the marine industry and ship building industry and other particularly issues. In addition, the sources of marine litter could be divided into two categories: land based(storm water discharges, run-off by heavy rain or flood, absence of waste services from people, littering by recreational beach users and shoreline residents); Sea based (commercial and recreational fishing, merchant and recreational ships, offshore platforms, and other facilities (see Lee, Hong and Ko 2008, p.106). Local problems need local solutions. It is important to stress that to solve local problems local resources and commitment is needed.

 Furthermore, the characteristic of Tongyeong society are different from the characteristics of society in rural or urban area. I would stress that academic achievement and social development of students in marine area are very different and uneven. Demographic condition and its topographic have influenced people condition and way of life when viewing the environment and culture. Tongyeong city is a place of fishery workers both local and international.

 The dynamics of Tongyeong society is driven by fishery workers, visitors, students, and tourists from outside of the city. The impact of this social dynamic in education is that education is used as a springboard for people to looking a job and move on to higher education in other cities. Moreover, one of the current issues in Korean education is violence in schools such as bullying, school brutality, crime by teenagers, and attempted suicide. It has become one of the biggest concerns for educators and parents in Korea.

 My study also shows that education in Tongyeong city itself faces both internal and external problems. The internal problems are related to violence as mentioned above. Also, teachers do not focus on student but sometimes focus on how to get promotion for higher position in the school. Student disobedience toward the school rule and the teacher, student’s failing to pay attention to the lesson because they are too tired and bored in the classroom and some cases, failing to respect the teacher’s teaching, are some problems that schools face. In the classroom many students sleep when the teachers give their lessons. In addition, the teacher has a burden to push the students to get a higher score or grade to get a ticket to a prestigious university in South Korea.

 Meanwhile, external problems occur when parent sue school for failing to provide better teaching and good facilities, but schools have difficulty in providing it because they have limited financial support from government, and there are many initiatives from government to increase the quality of education. It is reasonable that to give a good quality of education it requires financial support too. In the international context, globalization and modernization have brought Korean society into contact with different lifestyles and many pressures, especially political issues with ideological conflict between North and South Korea. Finally, many parents, educators, and teachers want to pursue an alternative education system especially in teaching and learning for student to avoid and prevent student problems like suicide attempts, violence, and stress.

ESD in Tongyeong city

 Focusing on ESD in Tongyeong city, education has an important role in responding to critical issues in this marine area especially on environmental issues and as a sustainable marine city. As Joong (2008, p.41-56) notes the current status of the fishing industry in Tongyeong is in decline; it is less competitive, there is overproduction of oysters, and many sea squirts are dead. This is accentuated by coastal environment pollution. According to the Office of Education of Tongyeong city, the goal of this institution is to develop pupils’ talents and creativity in order to strengthen character building in Tongyeong city.

 The institution supports the school to help develop this vision for the future through school based management. There are five core values that the Tongyeong office of Education which are concerned with; they are (1) fostering pupils pride in developing their talents, (2) shaping the future through strengthening pupils’ character and developing creativity, (3) making the environment of education healthy and safe for learning and teaching activities, (4) equality of education for the poor through welfare education, (5) developing trust in the education administration.

 Related to the ESD vision, Tongyeong Office of Education strives to promote ESD in the schools. The purpose of ESD in this city is behavior changing of consumption and life styles followed by a strengthening of cultural identity of Tongyeong city. To implement its policy, Tongyeong Office of Education has developed four elements to its policies which it has inserted into the Office of Education programs.

 These four elements consist of (a) making students be successors of the spirit of Tongyeong, (b) Improving the quality of class and student’s academic ability, (c) activating experienceoriented education for mapping student’s career and achievement, (d) tightening precautionoriented student guidance. A number of programs of ESD have been established since 2007. For example, in 2011 Tongyeong Office of Education held an education contest for ESD and teaching materials for creative learning experiences; in 2012 it held an ESD English camp in cooperated with the RCE in Tongyeong. As Kim Gum Yong1, Tongyeong Office of Education (2012) said in an interview:

 1 Interview taken in 9 May 2012 at 10:00 am in Tongyeong office of education.

 “The vision and mission of the Office of Education related with ESD programs emphasize the creativity of students and school extracurricular (after school). In the past, the Korean education system just emphasized on knowledge acquisition and was study oriented. But today, we would like to focus on creativity development and extracurricular classes which engage students to participate as club members, in working groups, and in environmental education activities. Moreover, this institution wants to focus on two main policies. Firstly, emphasis on academic achievement and secondly, it stresses creativity to develop student’s talent and its potentiality”.

 According to the statement above ESD is part of the policy of Tongyeong office of education and it has become a concern of this office in future to develop student’s awareness and its responsibility for sustainable living. Kim Gum Yong also has personal hopes of how to help education in Tongyeong city through developing the quality of education into two aspects: the academic aspect and the creativity aspect of the student.

 In other words, how schools could provide students with opportunities to develop their talents and potential in communities as early as possible and can participate in smoking and alcohol prevention, violence prevention, suicide attempt prevention. The investment in these aspects is necessary for students and club activities in future. I would like to stress that ESD is not an ambitious vision and program to force the schools what to do based on international interest, but rather how to help the school and the students find a way to solve local and global problems through practical and real action under an ESD framework.

 My research through my empirical observation shows that there are some positive activities and impacts of ESD practices in the schools. I conducted a field study in two elementary schools, one middle school, and two high schools and I would like describe my finding during my observation mission on ESD in Korean schools.

Inpyeong Elementary school

 Inpyeong elementary school was established in 1971. This school is located in Gyeongsangnamdo Tongyeong city pyeongiginiljuro 91-1 and now this school has 310 students (2012). This school has a vision to create children who have a good personality and creativity for the 21st century. To achieve this vision, this school has four goals. They are (1) Challenge, which means to challenge the pupils to have a dream or dare to dream, (2) Creative, it means to develop pupils’ creativity for our future society, (3) Humanity, develop children who have the right personality and morality, (4) health, it means healthy body and mind. There are many club activities offered to the students in this school such as animation, drawing, English, basketball, soccer, art, cooking, paper craft, science, music, and reading books. These club activities are an optional program for students. Every Wednesday, students can choose one of these club activities based on their interest and talents.

 Inpyeong Elementary school also has developed various programs to promote sustainable development within the school. As a model school for ESD, this school has integrated ESD into the existing school curriculum and extracurricular activities (see also Heekyung).The main goal of this school is to foster students to be people who lead a future Korean society. In organizing the ESD programs, this school uses the following steps; firstly, it identifies local issues such as the environment, economic, and cultural issues. Secondly, it designs the objective of the program with the purposes of systematizing knowledge, values and conduct. Thirdly, it organizes the content, and finally it develops assessments to identify at what level of understanding students and teachers have mastered the contents and values, and to measure the achievement related to the study objectives and goals.

 Inpyeong elementary school has a thematic program for ESD with the purposes of introducing the students to knowledge of their environment and culture. I also would note that when schools try to increase student’s ESD engagement, they have to be selective about what curriculum or program they adopt. The teacher in this school also said that they have three kinds of selective ESD programs. They are programs for teachers, students and parents. ESD for teachers emphasize on mastering materials on ESD and training to improve competency and capability building of teachers about ESD.

 The program for students is focused on after school programs and classroom programs called club activities. For parents, it focuses on training and sharing experience with parents and teachers in the school. In 2011, this school received a grand prize as a good and best model school for ESD in Tongyeong city. In particular, Inpyeong elementary school has enhanced either indoor or outdoor programs for preserving the culture and history of Tongyeong. For example, a traditional kite making program for 3rd grade students and a field trip to recognize the importance of waste management for 5th grade students.

 Following a review of curriculum development in this school, Yong and Nam (2010, p.150) study describe the core contents of ESD grades in Inpyeong elementary school. The core content of ESD is divided to three categories. First, the social aspect consists of human rights, peace safety, unity, cultural diversity, social justice, healthy food, participation in governance, equality, globalization and international affairs. Second, there are the environmental aspects such as natural resources, energy, climate change, biodiversity, environmental problems, sustainable food stuff, sustainable town/city, prevention and decline of disaster traffic. Third, there are the economic aspects such as sustainable production and consumption, sustainable company, the market economy, and reducing the gap between the rich and the poor.

 In addition, this school has two main issues relating to ESD. They are: (1) cultural preservation and conservation through a cultural program of activities for students and creative activities such as music, traditional dances, and craft making. Since 2006 this school has adopted ESD and a number of programs has been established within the school under the theme “raise knowledge about harmonious future life in our town” (see Yong and Nam, 2010). (2) environmental awareness and preservation, for example, camping and exploration for environmental issues in Tongyeong, waste sorting organized by the RCE in Tongyeong; Marine activities such as monitoring marine garbage and international coast purifying program organized by the Korean Ocean Rescue center; ecological activities, making a Tongyeong beach newspaper; education on meteorology through a photo exhibition and lecturing from Tongyeong weather station and camping for the environment and water environmental conservation. As the Yong and Nam studies (2010) also showed in Inpyeong elementary school there were two kinds of ESD program.

 First, there is ESD through subject centered learning which focuses on searching environmental issues, society issues, and economic issues. Second, ESD programs through extracurricular activities which focus on social phenomena in Tongyeong city called “Beyond the text”. Furthermore, Yong and Nam concluded that Inpyeong elementary school has core content related with ESD values in all grades such as citizenship participation, natural resources, biodiversity, sustainable production and consumption and market economy, sustainable food production, disaster prevention and reduction. From 2006 to 2008, Inpyeong elementary school also conducted a program called the “research and model school for sustainable development”. Although, there are no obstacles and challenges in implementation of ESD in this school, in contrast, there are some problems in Korean education which need to be solved too. As Kim Jong Sook2 states:

 2 16 May 2012 11:00 am in Inpyeong elementary school.

 “The most difficult problem is they (students) need a lot opportunity to communicate with their parents. Meanwhile, they do not have much time and opportunity to stay with their parents that is why parents sometime misunderstand the teacher and it is a kind of problem. The parent does not know what happens inside of the school and sometimes, a parent does not understand what teachers are doing in the school to educate their children”.

 It seems a Korean child does not get love and much attention from their own parents. They just keep on studying in the school until late of at night or until evening and their parents keep busy with their own work or own business. In contrast, the parents foster and push the teacher to give much attention to their son or daughter for his/her education but they could not give more attention and care by themselves. In a case, the student has to stay in the school longer because they have to wait for their parents to pick them up from the school. If not, they go back home by themselves by school bus. After school they have to go to an academy and spent their time in an academy to study. It means that education is also need parental participation. Education cannot stand alone but must be integrated in three aspects; family, school and society.

 In evaluating the ESD program, this school asked questions to the students and parents. They wanted to hear about which program are appropriate and best to do in the future and which ones are not good to do. Usually they do this evaluation every year. The evaluation is focused on the knowledge level and practical level. For the knowledge level, students are asked by the teacher how far or deep they understand ESD and also for parents. Meanwhile, in the practical level, schools ask the parents about how far they are satisfied with the school activities. My studies show that there are some differences before and after this school implemented ESD.

 Before ESD, many students do not understand or care about their own culture and environmental issues, but nowadays, they are improving their knowledge and understanding about their culture and environmental issues. The need to keep the environment clean and preserve it is important for their life and they start to think what they should do in the future3. It proved that ESD has great influence and impact for school students and the environment to develop a more sustainable future for both human and nature in a good manner. My observation shows that today, ESD in Inpyeong elementary continues in its emphasis on extracurricular activities and club activities.

 3 Mrs. Kim Jong Sook (a teacher in Inpyeong elementary school) notes that through ESD she wants their student are happy living in this planet.

Yongnam Elementary School

 Yongnam elementary school was established in 1932. This school is located in Gyeongsangnamdo Tongyeong Yongnam myeondong dal ridal pomain street 125 and the number of student in this school is 432 students (2012). The vision of this school is Bright and healthy children can fulfill their dream. There are four majors goal that have been developed by this school to translate the vision into education.

 They are (1) children who act nice, (2) children who creates new values, (3) children who are learning for themselves (4) children who have a healthy mind and body. This school started to implement ESD values in 2009 and became a school model for ESD. There are a number of activities related with ESD in this school. This school has two concerns for ESD. First, focus on ESD with main issues to preserve traditional Korean culture and environmental awareness and environmental protection. Second, it focuses on creative activities, these creative activities has also the same meaning as the ESD vision with the purpose to develop student’s potentiality and talents through creative activities such as playing a music, traditional dance, leadership engagement in classroom activities.

 Nam Jung Hee also said that related with ESD implementation this school also has electricity saving power campaign; keeping our environment clean, recycling, empty plate movement and understanding other cultures. Every subject in the school is connected to ESD values indirectly. Yongnam elementary school also has a traditional dance group and art club. In the traditional dance group, this school preserves two Korean Intangible cultural heritage assets: Seungjeonmu (the dance of victory) and Tongyeong Ogwangdae(Mask dance). Student regularly practice traditional dance in the school. In art club, students learn about traditional craft skills like Najeonchilgi, Mother-of–Pearl Inlaying including other important intangible art heritage such as Tongyeong gat (Top hats), Duseokjang, Timsmithing, Somokjang, Wooden furniture making. This school has a guidebook on ESD, the guidebook content on environment, water, recycling, understanding culture, and developing traditional culture, and cultural preservation and particular issues is included in it.

 According to my empirical observation there was a difference before and after this school implemented ESD values. Before the ESD, the students never cared, did not know, and even pay attention to traditional culture. In other words, many students did not care about traditional culture and knowledge, but after the ESD implementation through after school activities, many students understood and participated in preserving traditional culture.

 The School set up a concert, did a performance, and presentation. Finally they were proud of what they did and also the parents felt moved and touched when they saw their son or daughter performs a traditional dance in public. As Nam Jung Hee emphasizes, the meaning of education is sharing, education is important for all and teachers should become a model for their students. The strategy in implementing ESD at this school is first develop core contents and values about ESD through critical reading and discussion among teachers and stakeholders.

 Second, develop school programs related to ESD for each grade and special activities, which are translated into an annual operational plan of school programs (see also Yong and Nam, 2010). It is clear that ESD has an important role to strengthen local values and contribute to global solutions. The ESD values have strong implications for students’ points of view to see this world. Even though, it needs more effort and hard work to develop sustainably in Korean schools.

 My research showed that this school practiced the ESD values as follows: Firstly, the school provided foot and hand washing facilities in front of the school, after doing sport in the yard students could wash their hand. It also appears nearby the classrooms. Secondly, waste management program in the school. Thirdly, clean and neat classroom program, student has responsible to keep the student classroom clean and neat, periodically, student have to clean up their classroom every day, Fourthly, there is a green food zone; it means a healthy life style program and empty plate campaign in school has been set up and become a school commitment. Fifth, there is a sustainable culture; this school has an after school program on Korean traditional music and dance.

 In responding to ESD, my study carried out in Tongyeong city shows that there are eight basic characteristics of ESD in Korean Schools. I formulated these characteristics based on my empirical observation and analysis. These eight characteristics are: (1) improving the quality of basic education, (2) children right protection, (3) sustainable and healthy lifestyle, (4) sustainable environment, (5) sustainable consumption and production, (6) sustainable democracy and equity, (7) sustainable energy, (8) sustainable culture and cultural differences understanding (tolerance).

 Related to environmental education, some schools have a program to recruit volunteers to go to some places which has problems with trash. My observation also showed that this city has two potentialities that have been manifested in real life. This city is a city of tolerance and a city fit for children. In addition, to develop ESD it need to develop a comfortable environment too, through for example green apartment, green hotel, and a green city. Based on my empirical study I formulate the practices of ESD in Korean schools through a case study carried out in Tongyeong city Please see the table below.

Table 1. 5the Practices of ESD in Korean schools

 Based on the table above it shows that the school has a common vision to solve the school problems and education problems. The categories above are based on an empirical study of the schools. Specifically, each schools has its own characteristic to translate and bring forward related to issues of sustainable development (SD) to the students based at school level. Specifically, there are three main basic concerns that school and teacher deliver to the student. They are the clean plate movement, energy saving, and waste management. These three key concerns are not only on the national agenda but also on the local agenda which have been inserted into the school programs.

 Such as, sustainable life style, sustainable consumption and production, sustainable culture, sustainable democracy, and a sustainable environment as shown on the table above most explicitly appear in the school. As Lee study notes Elementary school, Middle school, and High school vary in their ESD programs in Korea. Those schools conducted ESD programs through curricular, extracurricular, and alternative activities (Lee 2011, p.130). Even though, Lee finding need to be clarified and re-developed because my empirical observation and study in Korean schools, show that ESD is not clearly inserted in the curriculum but ESD values are inherent in every lesson in the school curriculum.

 Meanwhile, these eight characteristics of ESD practices in school could be explained as follows. With respect to improving access to the quality of basic education, the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology set up a program under title the “Educational Welfare Promotion Plan” in 2008, the aim of this program is to ensure sufficient educational access for underprivileged students and to bridge the gap of education by region and income level; in 2010, the Korean government expanded compulsory education and support tuition fees for low income families.

 Meanwhile a child rights protection against violence emphasizes a safe schools program to prevent school violence and crime also introduced by the school in 2011. Recently, schools in Tongyeong city have built safety facilities (security guards and patrols around elementary school). Tongyeong city has the potential to become a city Fit for Children which focuses on the overall school environment and the city need to consider the children's need and children’s rights protection.

 Sustainable and healthily lifestyle promotion has focused on hand washing campaign in schools, UV sterilizing storage cabinet for metal drinking cups, and a green food zone program in school and society. The school is also providing facilitates to support this sustainable lifestyle.

 Sustainable environment or environmental ethics refer to the ideas that students have responsibility to keep their classroom clean and neat; school etiquette (students and teacher must change their shoes into school slips when they are entering the classroom or office); separate trash campaign in schools and volunteer activities to collect the trash from the street, through public events, and the school environment.

 This school etiquette is rooted deeply in Korean traditions and culture. Sustainable consumption and production is emphasizes the empty plate campaign eco-school friendly campaign and training for eco-plate soap. In Inpyeong elementary school and Yongnam elementary school, students are engaging to express their opinion and ideas. Equity has concern in non-discrimination to pupils with disabilities and education for all and access of education for multicultural family children. The school provides facilities for disabled pupils to access the school and education.

 In Inpyeong elementary school and Yongnam elementary school, the children can express their voices and opinion in the classroom when discussing about ESD and present their diaries in front of the class, and the students also ask their opinion about the process of teaching and learning done by the teacher and school programs which they are satisfied with Sustainable energy in school is the focus of an energy saving campaign. At national level, the government will plan to increase the electricity cost around 13.1 percent in order to reduce energy consumption in July 2012. The government also launched a nation wide campaign to encourage people’s participation in driving to cut electricity use and join the campaign voluntarily. Furthermore, sustainable culture through school and City of Tolerance is focused on international and world cultural learning and respect for other people from different cultures and nationalities. Additional activities in Korean schools have focused on cultural preservation. In a brief I would like to shows to models of ESD in Korean Elementary Schools as on the chart below:

Figure 1. Models of ESD in Korean Elementary Schools

 According to the chart above shows that the models of ESD in Korean elementary school is focuses on three elements; environment, culture and social-economy. The model designed by three institutions Office of education, school, and RCE Tongyeong. Office of education has responsibility to facilitate and supervise school stakeholders such principals, teachers, and school committee to share about the opportunity, challenges, obstacles, and weaknesses, and also best practices on ESD practices in their own schools. RCE Tongyeong has strong contribution to support to model and access for teachers, students, and office of education to develop model and design ESD in Korean elementary schools in Tongyoeng city. RCE Tongyeong and school stakeholders have regularly meeting to discuss how to implement ESD in schools. The Outcome of ESD in Korean schools is changing behavior of school student. Hopefully, they can have more awareness about their environment, culture, and society.

 Many Korean teachers and citizens feel that there have been lots of traditional culture and values lost in Korea because of the development of Korea through industrialization and modernization. As Nam Jung Hae noted prosperity and happiness is not just merely about material things but also spiritual matters too which could be found in indigenous knowledge and family values. But now, it has disappeared, in Tongyeong city there are very rarely any traditional cultural performances because a lot of traditional culture is endangered and there is no next generation to continue and preserve the traditional culture. So ESD is about how to give a vision to the young generations to cultivate cultural values and life by themselves for the future. In traditional culture, there are many moral values, values of life, and virtues. For example, in the Korean traditional folk song “arirang” it gives moral teaching about life, struggle, and how people live in harmony with nature and living creatures. It is important for Korean people to preserve and protect this intangible cultural heritage for a sustainable future. In Tongyeong girl’s middle school, arirang is taught by the teacher in music lesson.

 It is clear that after school activities and auxiliaries programs within the schools can help students establish his/her awareness of culture, life, nature, environment, and society, and develop a healthy life style and a sustainable future. The key point of ESD here is how to develop student’s participation actively in finding a solution for global problems through local wisdom and local action.

 When they grow up and marry and become parents for their children they can teach their son or daughter about the ESD vision. It is believed that a combination of classroom teaching and learning about ESD and community involvement results in teenagers and youth could develop a sense of awareness and social responsibility for a sustainable world. While there is no single, agreed definition of “ESD”, the main point to be underlined here is how ESD can contribute to behavior changing among the young generation in the world to take care of this planet sustainably.


 As shown in my study, students who are connected with their communities and some extracurricular activities achieve better understanding of ESD values and the outcome is environmental awareness. Creative activities and after school programs are fundamental ways to strengthen ESD values in Korean schools. Even though, a creative activity is not a direct response to ESD principles, but this policy is useful to develop and set up ESD applications for students too. It is clear that ESD is an approach and method to develop student’s awareness for a sustainable future in all aspects of life through practical action and positive behavior.

 As my field research in Korean school show, through my case studies that I carried out in Tongyeong city (see table.1.5 ESD Practices in Korean schools), it is important to socialize and promote a sustained school policy with teacher commitment to give practical and concrete examples of ESD with the goal of behavior changing and mindset changing aims for a sustainable future. My research and field observation in the schools conclude that the school vision and mission has reflected ESD values as well as the Korean educational philosophy “Hongikingan” (being beneficial to all people). However, Korean schools have been practicing and implementing ESD through its their culture and school habits such as keeping a clean and neat classroom and school etiquette because it is rooted deeply in the Korean tradition and way of life and also in line with ESD values. In other words, Korean culture has contributed to ESD models development.

 Now, I would like to conclude that ESD is also bringing global issues into the school environment. Student participation and school stakeholders in this matter are fundamentally important to drive change because it could contribute to practical action and sustainable lifestyles. As shown in my research, Korean schools through their culture and etiquette have contributed to the internalization of ESD values. I would like to recommend through my empirical study on ESD that first, Sustainable evaluation and monitoring system on ESD in the schools level relate with particularly issues that a schools concern is needed.

 Secondly, Re-designing and re-developing on ESD core values in the schools refers to problem based learning (it consist of school commitment, identify themes-based on the level of sustainable development issues, potential environmental impacts, expectation and benefits, and available resources-, develop action plans, implement action plans, and self-evaluation) is important. Thirdly, Develops and disseminate booklet, guidebook and brochure on ESD for school students are needed both soft copy and hard copy. Fourthly, Orientation to introduce on ESD/Sustainable development issues at new academic years for new student or first grade students is important. Fifthly, the best way to implement ESD values in curriculum through practical action such as school extracurricular activities and after school programs. Sixthly, Introduce and provide literatures and references (e.g books, comics, and movies) related to Sustainable development and ESD for students and teachers to self-study and self-access is needed. Providing e-learning and new media for ESD learning and teaching are required. Finally, School commitment and local educational office support is important to succeed ESD activities.


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