Education for a sustainable future

Project description

Title: Education for sustainable development
Commissioned by: Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation
Country: Mongolia
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Education, Culture, Science and Sports, Ministry of Environment and Tourism
Overall term: 2015 to 2017

A. Amgalan, project leader, presents the principles of education for sustainable development at an official event on the topic of ‘water management’. © GIZ


On account of the mining boom, Mongolia has become one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Apart from the financial blessings that the raw materials may provide, their extraction also negatively impacts the environment. In its sustainable development strategy, the Mongolian Government has set out to transform itself from an economy based on raw materials into a green and equitable economy. In order to succeed in doing this, the populace must also be involved. Good education that aims at encouraging young people to address environmental, social, economic and cultural issues is an essential factor for achieving a sustainable future.

The Mongolian Government has introduced a comprehensive reform process that integrates the topic of education for sustainable development into its (school) education system. The current school system is twelve years in length. Yet much of the curriculum and many of the standards used here are out-dated, teachers often lack sufficient qualifications, infrastructure is at times wanting, and the mechanisms in place for monitoring and evaluating the quality of the education system require improvement.

Swiss development cooperation has been active in the area of environmental education for the past five years and is now building on this experience.


Education for sustainable development is established in the Mongolian school system. The conditions for sustainable and green development are improved.

Educators teach the topic of sustainable development to their students in an interactive way. © GIZ


Adjustments within the education system should convince teachers and students to learn for the sake of their future and to immerse themselves in a ‘culture of complexity’: critical thinking should bring them to question their existing values and reflect upon their own learning.

For this process to succeed, the project team involves the residents of communities, local organisations, businesses and municipal governments in the work it does.

Educators participate in training and education programmes in order to prepare themselves for their new duties and to improve their professional and didactic qualifications. In cooperation with the government, the project team is developing new guidelines and also providing support for implementing them. Informational events and campaigns target the general public, seeking to raise awareness in the country about the importance of a green economy and the opportunities it offers. This project is being jointly carried out by GIZ International Services, Uppsala University in Sweden and the Institute for International Cooperation in Education in Zug, Switzerland. 


The project team provided professional support for creating guidelines that integrate the principles and educational ideas of sustainable development. The government has now implemented these guidelines within the school system. A core curriculum for secondary schools based on the principles of education for sustainable development has been developed and is currently being implemented. Countless course textbooks for secondary schools have been revised and updated based on this new curriculum. Over 28,000 educators across the country have attended training courses on the principles of education for sustainable development and the new curriculum.

An action plan for the green development strategy, the Green Development Policy of Mongolia, was developed in cooperation with the Mongolian Ministry of Environment and Tourism. This action plan was passed by the Mongolian Government in January 2016.

Training modules and handouts, adapted to the needs that exist in Mongolia, are available on the topics of ‘Education for Sustainable Development’, ‘Sustainable Development’ and ‘Green Development’. National training specialists from various areas use these materials in training and educational programmes for diverse target groups in society.

The project team educates training specialists, who go on to teach other people about ‘Education for Sustainable Development’, Sustainable Development’ and ‘Green Development’. The training specialists organise community events and educational programmes, in which they share their expertise with the populace and thus disseminate it throughout the country.

Studies focussing on the areas of “Education for Sustainable Development’, ‘Sustainable Development’ and ‘Green Development’ have been conducted and utilised by decision-makers.

Officials and representatives from ministries, educational organisations and various government agencies participate in organisational and management training programmes. This enables them to execute their work and duties with greater efficiency.

Education for sustainable development is an essential aspect of the new curriculum. © GIZ