The Purpose of Education: Australian and Slovenian perspectives in Education for Sustainability


  • Phil Smith
  • Majda Naji



purpose of education, sustainability education, cross-curriculum, integration, ESD school model


Clarity of purpose in education drives sensible decisions about curriculum, policy, infrastructure, funding and training. This article proposes that sustainability must be central to the purpose of education in the 21st century, and it looks at two examples of how this is being incorporated into schools in Slovenia and Australia.  Cross-curriculum approaches lie at the heart of effective integration in both countries: these connect current school subjects, and they help form the ethos of the whole school. The National Education Institute of Slovenia (NEIS) has developed a cross-curriculum concept by emphasizing Education for Sustainable Development as a model called the ESD School. The structure of an ESD School can be adapted for all national curriculums. In Australia, a new National Curriculum for schools requires sustainability to be integrated into all curriculum areas. Schools are taking this up in ways suitable to culture, leadership and other contextual variations. It is the opinion of the authors that schools must have a sustainability purpose and a solid model for achievement if our students are to learn the skills and values for a sustainable and safe future.


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Author Biographies

Phil Smith

writer, walker, cross-country skier
Director, KnowHands Education Consultancy
NSW Facilitator, HotRock
Lecturer, University of Western Sydney
Immediate Past President, Australian Association for Environmental Education

Phil has had fun working in environmental education and advocacy for over 30 years – in schools, universities, government agencies and communities. His local, national and international experience includes community campaigning, professional development in sustainability education for teachers and lecturers, strategic program development, evaluation, writing and facilitation.

Majda Naji

Dr Majda Naji is currently working as Assistant Research for ESD and Global Education at International School for Social and Business Studies (ISSBS) in Celje, Slovenia. She is founder of Journal Developing Global Dimension in the Curriculum at National Education Institute Slovenia (NEIS). Majda Naji was a member of Comenius projects SEED, SUPPORT and CoDeS, member of National group for Global Education, Slovenian representative in UNECE and national coordinator for ENSI.


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31. 12. 2013

How to Cite

Smith, P., & Naji, M. (2013). The Purpose of Education: Australian and Slovenian perspectives in Education for Sustainability. Envigogika, 8(4).