We stand at a critical moment in Earth’s history, a time when humanity must choose its future. As the world becomes increasingly interdependent and fragile, the future at once holds great peril and great promise.
— The Earth Charter —
The Core Philosophy of Compass Education
Schools, both as centers of learning and as central institutions in their communities, are essential to the process of humanity choosing its future. If there is one place where the “great promise” cited in the Earth Charter – the promise of sustainable development – is most likely to be found, it is in our schools.
Schools, as learning communities, need to model the vision of a sustainable world, in their educational practice as well as in their management, and governance. In essence, schools must come to embody the practice of sustainable development and model ‘education as sustainability’, which in itself imbues a transformation of all aspects of a school.
For us here at Compass Education this means that schools imbue a spirit of inclusivity, compassion, and mutual respect across and throughout all aspects of a school’s operations. It also means engaging, enabling and empowering all members of the school community to learn together, to create common goals, and to work collaboratively to achieve them.
Most importantly, students must be an integral part of a whole-school learning community, not only learning about sustainability in the classroom, but rather seeing and experiencing it being modeled and practiced in all that happens in the school and beyond. Schools working towards this vision thus integrate sustainability into school planning, curricula, teaching and learning, and try to embed it in the school infrastructure and maintenance.
The values and attitudes advocated in the classroom become habituated in the daily living of all. Schools ensure that they practice what they teach. Values are reinforced in policy and daily actions, and consequently are “caught and not just taught”.
Sustainability Values & Principles
Values are also an integral part of educating for a sustainable future. Understanding values is an essential part of understanding one’s own worldview and other people’s perspectives and points of view.
One important value that we support is global citizenship. Global citizenship encompasses the constellation of principles, values, attitudes and behavior that the people must embrace if sustainable development is to be realized. Global citizenship encourages a sane and legitimate sense of patriotism within the national populations of sovereign countries. Moreover, it insists upon a wider loyalty, a love of humanity as a whole. It does not, however, imply abandonment of legitimate loyalties, the suppression of cultural diversity, the abolition of national autonomy, nor the imposition of uniformity and homogeneity. Its hallmark is ‘unity in diversity.’
Global citizenship encompasses the principles of social and economic justice both within and between nations; non-adversarial decision making at all levels of society; equality of the sexes; racial, ethnic, national and religious harmony; and the willingness to sacrifice for the common good. Other facets of global citizenship should promote human honor and dignity, understanding, amity, cooperation, trustworthiness, compassion and a desire to serve.