Hungary offers good examples from both strands. The site visits will provide opportunities for a more profound insight.
(1.1) The Hungarian Green Kindergarten Network
coordinated by the Ministry of Agriculture of Hungary consists of a network of 918 kindergartens throughout Hungary. This means that approximately 20% of kindergartens in Hungary have joint the network since 2006, resulting in every fourth child attending a green kindergarten in Hungary.
The Ministry of Agriculture supports the network by operating a website, organising special events and an inner network of pillar kindergartens.
The curriculum of green kindergartens includes dedication towards ESD, promotes the recognition, the protection and the preservation of local heritage and places special emphasis on environmental education, building developmental activities on this while also reflecting these value choices in the infrastructure and operation. Green kindergartens work with a whole-institutional approach. Their distinguished inner network called pillar kindergartens support other kindergartens preparing or possibly willing to join the network by mentoring, organising teaching open sessions and other programmes or recommending supportive materials.
Each year, kindergartens are invited to undergo an application process to enter the framework. Those that apply successfully, are eligible to use the title Green Kindergarten, and those that have gained the title three consecutive times might apply for the title Permanent Green Kindergarten. In the application process, kindergartens undertake a reflective cycle of reviewing and forming challenging, taking actions and reflecting on results as a community. In 2018 there were 20 kindergartens newly joining the network, while 14 kindergartens gained their title repeatedly and 4 kindergartens were rewarded the Permanent Green Kindergarten title.
The growth of the Hungarian Green Kindergarten Network
Green kindergartens are indicated in light green, permanent green kindergartens are indicated in dark green in the graph.
The Green Kindergarten Network in Hungary.
Numbers in circles indicate the number of green kindergartens in each region
(1.2) The Hungarian Eco-school Network
funded in 2000 was the first official and nationwide environmental education school network in Hungary, which has been coordinated by the Ministry of Human Capacities of Hungary. The Hungarian Eco-school Network coordinates, informs, organises in-service teacher trainings and programs for those schools that put the principles of sustainability in the centre of their curricula and operation. Pedagogical supplementary materials, books and educational packages supporting the daily work of the member schools and keeping them informed are prepared or recommended for member schools regularly with the support of the Network.
Eco-schools operate with an ESD-focused local curriculum and a whole-school approach, extending ESD activities and environmentally conscious attitude to each member of the school community. Schools are requested to showcase their ESD activities on their own website, while regional eco-school meetings provide opportunities for them to share and exchange experiences.
The Network is open to every Hungarian public educational institution with a yearly open application system building on self-evaluation according to a set of criteria. The application process invites schools to go through a reflective cycle about revising existing and proposed activities form an ESD point of view referring to the set of quality criteria provided and accepted by the Network, then setting their own challenges and assessing their results leading to another cycle of reflection and revision. After a successful application, schools are allowed to possess the title Eco-school, which they may renew every three years. After two consecutive successful applications, schools are eligible to apply for the title Permanent Eco-school.
In the past 18 years the Network has grown to approximately 1000 schools all over Hungary, representing about 30% of schools covering about 28% of students and 29% of teachers in Hungary. All school types in the spectrum of the Hungarian public education system are represented in Eco-school Network: the majority of member schools are primary schools, about one-quarter are secondary and vocational schools, but there are some art schools, boarding schools and dormitories as well amongst the members.
The growth of the Hungarian Eco-School Network
Eco-schools are indicated in light green, permanent eco-schools are indicated in dark green in the graph.
The Green Eco-school Network in Hungary
Light green spots indicate green schools, dark green spots indicate permanent eco schools.
Further reference: https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-3-319-09549-3_12
(2) ESD educator competences in Hungary
in Hungary were introduced as a part of teachers’ professional learning portfolio by a government decree in 2018. This means that for teachers’ qualification and advancement processes ESD competences need to be proven.
In Hungary, teacher appraisal has an impact on teachers’ salaries and may influence career opportunities. While schools can choose the criteria for teacher appraisal, evaluation of the selected criteria is strictly regulated. Teachers are regularly invited to upload an e-portfolio based on which their professional activities are evaluated and their advancement is stated. Since the introduction of the model, 73179 teachers took part in the qualification process.
Evaluators assess teachers’ portfolio based on a set of 62 indicators which correspond to 8 general competence areas, to which in 2018 a ninth one, ESD competences was added.
This is only the first step towards integrating teachers’ ESD competences in teachers’ pre- and in-service training as well. In the second half of 2018 a development process was initiated to determine standards and indicators linked to the ESD competences. The challenge is that the competence indicators should be specific but flexible enough to each educational professional: special needs teachers, kindergarten teachers, subject teachers, speech therapists, psychologists, even principals and supervisors. An expert group is working on preparing a set of indicators and harmonising them with the existing indicators. The Ministry of Human Capacities of Hungary coordinates this effort in strong collaboration with the Educational Authority.
The next step will be to prepare supporting materials for teachers and then to apply the indicators to the whole teacher training system in Hungary. The templates and the different (at present 31 types of) online guidance materials facilitate different groups of teachers and other educational professionals. These online guidebooks provide detailed assistance to each step of completing the e-portfolio, they explain the evaluation system and they give examples to activities and supportive documents that can be uploaded in the context of all competence areas. Good examples and general experiences from the Hungarian Eco-school Network will be integrated in this development process.