The Jeffrey Cheah Foundation Launches a Nation-wide Scale-up of Education for Sustainable Development Training for Malaysian Teachers

Sunway City, Kuala Lumpur, 3 July 2024 – The Malaysian Minister of Education, YB Fadhlina Sidek, officiated the opening ceremony of the ESD for 2030 Asia Pacific Regional Meeting on Transforming the Futures of Education: Mainstreaming Education for Sustainable Development in Learning Systems, at Sunway University.

Fadhlina, who is also President of the Malaysian National Commission for UNESCO, welcomed the convening of the meeting in Malaysia, drawing parallels between its objectives and the Malaysia MADANI Philosophy.

She noted that, consistent with the concept of MADANI, ESD emphasizes ethical values and mindsets, and a sense of responsibility, to guide young people to relate what and how they learn to how they can make a difference in their communities, environments and the world.

The Minister also congratulated the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation (JCF) for funding the development and delivery of a professional development program on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) for in-service teachers in Malaysian national and national-type schools.

This announcement comes on the heels of a pilot teacher professional development program currently underway in 7 Malaysian schools. To date, over 385 teachers have been involved in the professional development process, with the training of an additional 210 teachers by the end of the year.

In addition to the initial 7 pilot schools, the Minister expressed her gratitude to Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Sir Jeffrey Cheah, Founding Trustee of JCF, for agreeing to support an additional 30 schools, that will impact more than 2500 teachers across the country.

“Having thirty more schools sign up before the pilot program concludes showcases the hunger and interest among Malaysian teachers for professional development in ESD. UN-SDSN and JCF are partnering strategically with MOE to prepare our teachers to deliver our curriculum with an ESD mindset,” said Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Sir Jeffrey Cheah, who is also Co-chair of Mission 4.7, a global initiative calling on world leaders to implement ESD at scale.

Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Sir Jeffrey Cheah said, “Malaysian teachers who have undergone the pilot training tell us they now feel more able to create the learning opportunities for their students to be changemakers”.

The teacher professional development program in ESD is a project of UN-SDSN’s Asia Headquarters in Sunway City Kuala Lumpur, established in November 2022 and hosted in Sunway University, Malaysia. Together, the UN-SDSN Asia Headquarters and JCF see teacher capacity-building in ESD as pivotal to support the education system in Malaysia in the implementation of SDG 4 Target 7: Education for Sustainable Development.

The program is carried out with the support of the Education Policy Planning and Research Division (EPRD), Ministry of Education Malaysia. It adapts and applies global ESD competencies and frameworks to local contexts.

As part of JCF’s continued commitment to nation-building and advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, it has gifted US$20 million to the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UN-SDSN). This fund has since financed the development of the Jeffrey Sachs Center for Sustainable Development at Sunway University, as well as the establishment of the Asia Headquarters of the UN-SDSN in Malaysia.

Today, UN-SDSN’s Asia headquarters coordinates worldwide sustainability initiatives alongside the two other UN-SDSN offices in New York City and Paris.

Also present at the event was Professor Jeffrey Sachs, world renowned economist and the President of the UN-SDSN, who delivered a keynote address on the imperative to transform education in order to build prosperous, resilient, and sustainable societies of the future.

About the ESD For 2030 Regional Meeting

The ESD For 2030 Regional Meeting on Transforming the Futures of Education: Mainstreaming Education for Sustainable Development in Learning Systems is jointly organized by UNESCO and UN-SDSN, and co-hosted by Malaysia’s Ministry of Education (MOE), with the support from the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation (JCF), Sunway University, and the Government of Japan through the Japanese Fund-in-Trust (JFIT).

The three-day meeting from 2 – 4th July 2024 is held at Sunway University, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The meeting is a recurring engagement of 100 selected delegates consisting of education transformation drivers from over 25 countries. A previous regional meeting in June 2023, and a global meeting in December 2023, saw delegates tackle ESD implementation within existing educational systems. This meeting is a next step in deepening national and regional ESD advancement.

The delegates, who play pivotal roles on ESD policy and practice across educational systems in Asia Pacific countries, give this meeting special prominence in the overall pulse-setting for education transformation in line with the UN Agenda 2030.

Meeting Objectives

The ESD For 2030 Asia-Pacific Regional Meeting aims to accomplish the following:

  • Enable policy dialogue and knowledge exchange among key stakeholders on emerging thematic issues related to ESD, to inform policy and practice at national and regional levels
  • Take stock of the recent development of ESD for 2030 Country Initiatives, and empower UNESCO Member States and strategic education partners in the region towards advance planning and implementation
  • Expand and provide collaborative opportunities through the platform of the Asia-Pacific Regional ESD-Net

About the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network

The UN-SDSN was established in 2012 by the former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and world-renowned economist and professor Jeffrey Sachs. Under the auspices of the UN Secretary General, the UN-SDSN works to mobilize the world’s universities, think tanks, and national laboratories for action on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change; empower societies through free online education; and translate scientific evidence and ideas into solutions and accountability.

About Mission 4.7

Mission 4.7 was launched in December 2020 to put into global practice the bold vision of transforming education to achieve SDG Target 4.7, including among others through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship, and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development. Mission 4.7 is a partnership between the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens, UNESCO, and the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University. It is co-chaired by Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Sir Jeffrey Cheah, Founder & Chairman, Sunway Group; Hon. Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education, UNESCO; Professor Jeffrey Sachs, President, UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UN-SDSN); and Monsignor Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, Former Chancellor, Pontifical Academy of Sciences and Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.

About the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation

Adopting a social enterprise model, the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation is the largest of its kind in advancing education in Malaysia. The Foundation owns and governs all entities under Sunway Education Group, including Sunway University, Sunway Colleges and Sunway International Schools, among others. Through the unique not-for-profit structure of the Foundation, operating surpluses are ploughed back into the institutions or disbursed as scholarships, research grants and expansion of world-class facilities and top-notch faculty to ensure quality education in perpetuity. As of 2023, the Foundation has awarded more than RM670 million worth of scholarships to tens of thousands of deserving students.