The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Luis Brites Pereira, encouraged Portuguese DNGOs to work, “together” with the State in finding “solutions” to ensure continuity for policies and projects for of Development Education (DE), due to the “difficult” situation the country is going through.
This Government member so stated in a debate organised by the Working Group of the Portuguese DE DNGO Platform, entitled “Development needs Citizens”, which took place on May the 22nd which was also attended by the Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for Education, Science and Culture, José Ribeiro e Castro, as well as a significant number of civil society and education organisations.
After classifying the National Education Strategy for Sustainable Development as a “fundamental axis” of Development policies, the Secretary of State noted the “difficult” economic and financial situation of the country, suggesting to “consider this crisis as an opportunity for working together.”
In this context of seeking “new solutions” to continue projects of Development Education, Mr. Luis Brites Pereira proposed also to “broaden the dialogue” to the private sector and European institutions, offering his availability to facilitate Portuguese access to Community funding lines for DNGOs.
Later, he highlighted the “structural” work of DNGOs in promoting and raising awareness on Education for Sustainable Development, stressing the importance of “breaking the indifference” of modern society for global issues and for the human rights respect worldwide.
“If we become more human, more attentive to the needs of the others, we are also committed to solve problems and transforming society. We then become agents of change”, he said.
The Chairmen of the Parliamentary Commission for Education, Science and Culture reaffirmed that schools are the most appropriate place for the promotion of Education for Sustainable Development, highlighting the essential role of the teacher and suggesting new items for discussion when framing the contents of DE in school curriculum.
Opening the floor to the participants, representatives of civil society organisations appreciated the presence of political authorities and shared their ideas and suggestions for effective promotion of Development Education in Portugal, drawing attention to more coherent policies for development and strengthening teacher training on issues of DE.
Luísa Teotónio Pereira, on behalf of CIDAC – Amilcar Cabral’s Intervention Centre for Development, ended the debate by congratulating those present at the initiative and stressing the need to apply policies to promote Education for Sustainable Development as a response to “challenges” in today’s world of constant and rapid change.