Model schools for environmental conservation in Korea: Analyzing EE model school programs through the lens of sustainability

Environmental education in formal school settings has been launched since early 1980s in Korea. The environment is being instituted as a stand-alone subject in secondary schools, whereas environmental topics are incorporated into school curriculum in other related subjects at elementary schools.

The two-year model school program for environmental conservation supported by the Ministry of Environment, Korea has been conducted since 1985. The number of model schools which attending the program has been increased from 8 elementary and secondary schools during 1980s to 32 schools in the 12th program which is underway. Up to 11th program (1985-2007) 173 schools in total attended the model schools program. The designated schools receive government grants and educational materials in order to provide best teaching practices to instill students with positive attitudes towards the environment and to encourage environmental conservation in everyday lives of students.

In this study, the operation reports of twelve (12) model schools at elementary level were analyzed with lens of sustainability. A school evaluation framework was made with modification based on the SUSDE project of Europe and UNESCO Teaching & Learning for Sustainable Future (TLSF) program. The school evaluation framework was used to reveal how well the model schools implement sustainable development education in each of the five areas: the formal curriculum, social, ecological, economic and democratic sustainability. This study revealed the areas where the model schools are already making a positive contribution to sustainable development education and where the schools achieve low accomplishments.

Choi, D.H., Choi, E.J., Kim, C.K.