The Paradox of the UNESCO Initiative for an Ecological Consciousness-Oriented Education: A Critical Analysis Utilizing the WPR Approach


Environmental sustainability development (ESD) has been considered a priority in educational policy. This was evident in the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) (UNESCO, 2015b, p.1), the Global Action Programme (GAP) (2015–2019) and the UN’s (2015) proposal (Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development). Despite all these efforts, UNESCO (2020b) announced that global ESD strategies failed. More recently, UNESCO (2020b) has developed a report that envisions saving the future through learning to be coexistence agents with the non-human world. Essentially, these declarations called for a paradigm shift from learning how to become a part of the world rather than simply learning about it. Couch (2020) stressed that examining a policy’s development from its conception is equally essential as reviewing its implementation. Therefore, our presentation critically examines the educational policy proposed by UNESCO (2020b) using Bacchi’s "What’s the problem represented to be?", a method that focuses on problematization and consists of answering six policy analysis questions. For this analysis, we systematically examined the problem representation using an iterative process comprising different phases going from reading, self-reflecting, and discussions to writing, discussing and re-writing. We applied this process to each question of the WPR method (Bacchi, n.d.) over five months.

Author Information
Leticia Nadler Gomez, University of Alberta, Canada
Marwa Younes, University of Alberta, Canada

Paper Information
Conference: PCE2023
Stream: Educational policy

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon