The Carpathian Sustainable Education Network CASALEN was established during a meeting in Göncöl House, Vác, Hungary on the 9-10. November, 2007 as a joint ESD project of the seven Carpathian Convention countries: Hungary, Poland, Slovak Republic, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro.
The participants of the meeting were:
Hubert Hilbert, Slovakia (HH)
Ilona Morżoł, Poland (IM)
Gyula Fodor, Ukraine (GyF)
Katalin Czippán, Hungary (KCz)
Attila Varga, Hungary (AV)
Vilmos Kiszel, Hungary (VK)
György Verő, Hungary (GV)
Günther Pffafenwimmer, Austria (GP)
Absent, but informed and interested:
Robert Korec, Slovakia
Magdalena Maradova, Czech Republic
Anna Kalinowska, Poland
To be found: contacts in Serbia and Romania.
The first day of the meeting was dedicated to the introduction of the participants, and after presenting the background of the Carpathian Convention, mapping their expectations and the possibilities of the future co-operation within the Carpathian region. As the result of the mapping exercise the following expectation or common goal emerged: establishing a network in sustainable way to exchange information, practices and to find common project possibilities. This network could be named as Carpathian Sustainable Education Network shortly: CASALEN.
The participants indicated three major fields of possible cooperation:
The Carpathian region has many common environmental features and so common ESD possibilities. On this unique basis school based projects should be developed among the Carpathian countries. The existing frameworks (EU - LLL program, Visegrad Found) could be used for financial support of this common school projects. The participants agreed that a solid professional support system should be developed in order to encourage the above mentioned school based co-operations. The core element of this support system could be a regular summer school as in-service training for multiplication ofthe collected and structured materials, knowledge and know-how for ESD teachers. This summer school should apply a training of trainers' approach, so the participants of the summer school will be able to disseminate their experiences in their on countries. In order to establish a solid and relevant professional background for this process a selective and structured collection of available materials should be set up. Principally those materials should be collected and disseminate which are already developed with the aim of supporting ESD activities in the Carpathian region, like the results of the 'Train the Eco-trainers' programs and other similar activities in the past. Translation and/or adaptation revision of these existing materials could be a joint activities of the Carpathian countries.
Beside the basic needs the support system should focus on the new aspects and developments of ESD. It should help the schools in Carpathian region to deal with all three pillars of SD, should especially emphasise the links between economy and sustainability, as the presence of economical aspects in ESD activities is generally weak in all Carpathian countries. The support systems should based on system approach, organizational learning, community learning, approach based on the shared values of participating countries.
Other field of activities of the support system should to encourage the schools of the Carpathian region to join ESD initiatives available, such the eco-schools initiatives and the PET bottle recycling campaign in Austria, or the SUPPORT network which will offer possibilities in the field of school-community and school- research institution co-operation through ICT tools for Carpathian schools too. It was agreed that all the activities of the support system should be subject for continuous development and that the network should even promote the idea of self-reflection and learning organization approach to all partners (schools, NGOs, HE institution, governmental bodies) whom it would co-operate with.
There is a huge variety of Field Centres throughout the Carpathian region. Usually these centres work individually or within their own national systems even very near to each other on the different side a state border. Therefore it was agreed that a learning network of centres in the Carpathians would facilitate and promote ESD beside and beyond and serving the public education area. The network should deal with the full scale of operation of the field centres. From infrastructure issues through organizational issues to professional aspects.
There is a need for researches in order to develop a scientific basis for ESD activities in Carpathian region. These researches should include the research on environmental education - perception, attitude of teachers and teacher students education for SD, Life log learning and ESD and also theoretical aspects of ESD. Specific aim for higher education is to find or establish a scientific journal to promote contacts within the region, to provide researchers and developers of the ESD in the a Carpathian region with publication opportunity and in order to present the result of ESD in the region not just on national but on EU and global level.
Polish National Commission for UNESCO offered a common webpage for the Carpathian ESD co-operation, where all the participating institutions could contribute materials. This website could be the up-to date platform for knowledge sharing and information flow.
Beside this webpage a common bulletin minimum yearly published and also edited by the members should serve as an official and representative way of communication and dissemination of the planned CASALEN network. The results of the co-operation can be published in the ENSI newsletter as well.
The focus of the second day was to determine the necessary next steps for co-operation. The following possible and necessary next steps were identified:
- Inform UNEP about the CASALEN initiative (GP)
- Mapping the available resources for co-opearation with special focus on pupils with special needs (all participants co-ordanatied by AV)
- To disseminate experiences of the workshop on quality criteria for head of schools in Austria (GP)
- Translate the Quality Criteria for ESD Schools into all Carpathian language. The layout is free done by ENSI (Polish: IM, Slovak: HH, Czech: MM, Ukrainian: GYF coordinated by GP)
- To run a carpathian sub-sample analysis of data collected by BIOHEAD project (AV)
- To initiate to establish a network of national ESD commissions in the region. This initiative could be a catalyst also for national ED work as a critical friend process. (HH)
- Organise the next meeting in order to develop a concrete project proposal.
Host: a partner of HH in Trencin, SK or Göncöl again
Organiser: HH with the support of CzK,
Content and facilitators (design team): CzK, FGy, RÁ
Date: Spring 2009
The participants agreed that they wish to establish CASALEN as a learning network rather than an official or administrative network. In this learning network the participants would like to share their knowledge and would like to learn together what they are uncertain about with a strong focus on practical and experimental approaches. They are looking forward to find more partners fro the Carpathian region.