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''Now is the time to recommit to those efforts inspired by the Sustainable Development Goals. Changemakers everywhere are critical to translating the ambitious vision of the SDGs into reality. Global communities such as those sustained by the Global Schools Program are critical to building a better world"

– Ford Foundation Professor of the Practice of International Education,


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The Global Schools Program (GSP) is thrilled to announce the launch of a new toolkit to support practitioners, policymakers, and researchers in creating or adapting curriculum on sustainable development, as well as integrating this curriculum into national priorities. The toolkit is titled: “From Commitment to Action: Integrating Sustainable Development into National Education Priorities: A Practical Guide for Policymakers, Practitioners, and Researchers.” The toolkit was authored by Dr. Felisa Tibbitts, Chair in Human Rights Education and UNESCO Chair in Human Rights and Higher Education, Utrecht University (Netherlands); Mr. Sam Loni, UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network; Ms. Amanda Abrom, UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network; and Ms. Gabriela Chacon Ugarte, UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. The project was made possible due to the financial support provided by Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy. 

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Successfully integrating Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) into national curriculum and schools requires educational communities to identify locally relevant issues, skills, values, and behaviors central to sustainable development. However, this process is complex because every education system has its own set of standards, policies, and curriculum goals. For that reason, the Global Schools Program (GSP) has worked with experts to create a comprehensive online toolkit for practitioners, policymakers, and researchers that breaks down steps to analyze curriculum documents and adapt or create curriculum on sustainable development. This is a living document that will be adapted based on coninuous, collaborating learning amongst partners and SDSN Networks.

The Sections of the Guide

The guide is divided into seven major subsections:

  • Chapter 1: The importance of ESD integration into national education curriculum and the underlying theory of change for the guide are introduced. 

  • Chapter 2: The multi-phased research process is introduced, including the necessary preparations and a list highlighting administrative priorities (i.e. financial resources, human resources, expertise, etc.).

  • Chapter 3: A comprehensive ESD framework, which can be used for designing classroom lessons and activities, is developed based on national educational context and local priorities.  


  • Chapter 4: National educational laws, policies and curricula are rigorously analyzed and evaluated (both quantitatively and qualitatively) for ESD themes.

  • Chapter 5: Expanding the ESD framework and building on existing curriculum, a series of sample lesson plans and activity guides for various grades and subjects are developed.

  • Chapter 6: Sample lesson plans and activity guides are piloted in select schools and classrooms across the country, and their effectiveness rigorously assessed.

  • Chapter 7: Writing up final recommendations based on project outcomes, disseminating the results of the curriculum piloting to stakeholders, and developing a roadmap to guide future work. 

Past Projects and Inputs

The contents of the toolkit were shaped based on the results of a research pilot carried out in Ghana, Turkey, and Morocco. Partners that participated in the pilot project include the Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection (Morocco), Al Akhawayn University (Morocco), Hacettepe University (Turkey), the University of Education (Ghana), and the Millennium Promise Alliance, Inc. (Ghana). The research pilots were led by Professor Abdelkrim Marzouk, Professor Mustafa Öztürk, Professor Andy Ofori-Birikorang, Ms. Kenza Khallafi, Ms. Meryem Khodari, and Chief Nathaniel Ebo Nsark, as well as other authors, educators and stakeholders. Project advisors included Professor Fernando Reimers (Harvard University), Professor Felisa Tibbitts (Utrecht University), Professor Oren Pizmony-Levy (Columbia University), and Professor Alan Reid (Monash University). More than 60 researchers were recruited to lead this project, working inside the 3 pilot countries, across 4 separate languages (English, Turkish, Arabic, and French). This approach has brought together 80 in-country partners and stakeholders to propel a movement for sustainable development education across the three pilot countries. 

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Country Director: Kenza Khallafi 

Morocco Report: This report was authored by the Research Director for the pilot in Morocco, Dr. Abdelkrim Marzouk, Ph.D.,  the Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and Associate Professor of Geography at Al Akhawayn University, and the Research Assistant of the pilot, Mrs. Meryem Khodari, the Project Manager for the Hassan II International Center for Environmental Training. The Global Schools Pilot Project was carried out in partnership with the Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection and Al Akhawayn University in Morocco. This report reveals that the Moroccan national education curriculum does included material and language that furthers the Global Citizenship Education, 21st-century skills, and SDGs. 

Country Director: Chief Nathaniel Ebo Nsarko


Ghana Report: This report was authored by Professor Andy Ofori-Birikorang, Ph.D., Professor Samuel Abeiku Hayford, Ph.D., Professor Dandy George Dampson, Ph.D., Professor Ernest Akwasi Amponsah, Ph.D., Christiana Hammond, Ph.D., Mavis Amo-Mensah, Ph.D., and Richardson Addai-Mununkum, Ph.D. The Global Schools Pilot project in Ghana was carried out in partnership with the Millennium Promise Alliance Inc. in Ghana and the University of Education, Winneba in Ghana. Seven Ghanaian educational policy documents together with twenty K-6 curriculum documents were analyzed to highlight gaps and explore linkages and synergies between the content of these documents and the Agenda 2030  learning outcomes. The report offers recommendations to review educational policies, incorporate SDGs in curriculum, and engage policymakers and key stakeholders in Ghana.


Country Director: Dr. Mustafa Öztürk

Turkey Report: This report was authored and edited by the Research Director for the Global Schools Pilot in Turkey, Dr. Mustafa Öztürk, Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction and EFL Instructor at Hacettepe University, in partnership with Hacettepe University. It was additionally authored by Aylin Albayrak-Sarı, Ph.D., Hacettepe University, Turkey; Abdullah Bağcı, Ph.D., Hacettepe University, Turkey; Seçil Dayıoğlu-Öcal, Ph.D., Hacettepe University, Turkey; Burtay Hatice İnce, Ph.D., Gazi University, Turkey; Neşe Soysal, Ph.D., University College London, UK. This report presents the findings emerging from three main research activities conducted in Turkey: policy analysis, curriculum mapping, and a preliminary program evaluation on the Global Schools 60 lesson plans by ESD-trained teachers in Turkey. The report outlines further steps for ESD-localization in Turkey, including centering ESD pedagogy, linking personal and professional engagement with ESD, promoting cross-sectoral cooperation and an interdisciplinary approach, and disseminating ESD through community participation. 

Summary Report: This summary evaluation report synthesizes all findings from the Global Schools Pilot Project. Lead writers are Amanda Abrom, Lian Sabella Castillo, Brenda García Millán, Mary-Margaret Gilliam, and Elizabeth Lerman, under the coordination of Amanda Abrom. The report details the methodology of the Global Schools Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) curriculum localization pilot projects in Ghana, Turkey, and Morocco. This report was written by expert Global Schools Program Project Officers with extensive experience and background working in education and sustainability. This report supplements three additional reports published under the country Research Directors: Dr. Mustafa Öztürk, Dr. Abdelkrim Marzouk, and Chief Nat Ebo Nsarko.

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