Democratizing education: Open schooling engaged the less privileged in environmental sciences
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionPLOS ONE. 2022, 17 (4), 1-19. 10.1371/journal.pone.0266655
Democratizing learning is essential for environmental sustainability. Less privileged areas are crucial in this regard. Informal education has great such potential, but often fails to reach the less privileged, and to document learning. With the objective to identify and counter these issues, we here report on EDU-ARCTIC, an informal open schooling course in environmental science, aimed at European teachers with teenage pupils. Of the 1,181 teachers who enrolled, 73% were females and 43% were from less privileged nations (according to UN Human Development Index). This is a higher share of less privileged (females) than is the case for the general population of Europe. Teachers from less privileged nations also participated in more project activities than did those from more privileged nations, apart from in urban areas. For the project period, the teachers reported a significant increase in all the three categories of aspired learning outcomes for their pupils. We conclude that courses like ours can increase teenagers’ literacy and engagement in science and environmental issues, not the least in less privileged areas. Deliberate efforts are required to reach these target groups, who may be less inclined to join on their own.