Education for Environmental Agency and Digital Equity

November 27th, 2023 | Blogs


Education is central to overcoming some of our world’s greatest challenges, including achieving social justice, protecting the environment and building climate resilience, and harnessing emerging technologies. Education provides context for action, allows us to understand other perspectives, and think critically about the problems and potential solutions around us. Recent discussions at global forums on how to better target where education intersects with social justice, the environment, and technology surfaced three themes that align with our own approaches.

Education for environmental agency

Addressing the climate and environment crisis through education requires a deep understanding of our partner communities and learners. We understand the importance of learning processes and an education that does not ‘teach’ young people about climate change, but helps them develop their climate justice literacy and environmental agency. By using experiential and context-based education approaches to teach about the climate and environment, we can connect to people’s lived experiences and promote resilience as well as sustainable, healthy behaviors.

Our approaches include integrating climate and the environment themes into formal and non-formal curricula. We also support learners to conduct research, take action, teach others, and gain skills in sustainable agricultural practices.

Technology and digital equity

Technology in education presents many exciting opportunities as well as real limitations. From e-learning courses for teacher professional development to EdTech integration for learners with disabilities, digital tools and approaches need to be applied thoughtfully.

Bearing in mind the different dimensions of access – availability, affordability, awareness, abilities, and agency – we examine if digital approaches and tools are equitable and develop strategies and models, like World Education’s Digital Navigator model, to help ensure digital equity.

By also putting goals before tools, we can plan for the use of technology in education that meets educator and learner needs and prioritizes inclusion and sustainability. Through implementation and completion of technology interventions, it is important to conduct studies on their impact and effectiveness in improving learning outcomes, and strengthen systems for ongoing evaluation.

Scaling interventions that work

When considering scaling, we know the need for strong evidence of an intervention’s effectiveness relative to cost. Education approaches like structured pedagogy – providing schools with teaching and learning materials, lesson plans, training and continuous support for teachers – have been identified as “smart buys” for investing in due to their cost-effectiveness at improving foundational learning when implemented at scale.

It is also critical to determine how to implement successfully in different contexts. Education interventions should use implementation science in scaling evidence-based approaches to close the gap between what should work and what actually does.

Large-scale foundational learning programs from Mozambique and Ghana to Nepal and Cambodia can surface evidence on what needs to be adapted to scale in very different contexts. Scaling is not just about the technical elements, but also about the broader political, economic, sociocultural, and historical context.

A long-term presence and sustained relationships in intervention areas with education stakeholders, government counterparts, and community members can provide this context. We collaborate closely with government partners to align to their priorities, establish government leadership in scaling, assist ministries of education to access data for decision making, nurture “champions” within the system at all levels, and lay out the responsibilities of each actor for the best, localized impact.

With proper planning and evaluation of the equity and effectiveness of education interventions, we can expand programs to improve learning outcomes and build climate resilience, among other goals. Our approaches and consistent learnings from local and global stakeholders improve our work and contribute to the collective effort to develop, execute, and assess equitable, sustainable, and cost-effective education interventions.

Partner with Us

World Education strives to build lasting relationships with partners across diverse geographic regions and technical sectors to produce better education outcomes for all.