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Supporting the Integration of Circular Economy in Secondary School Economics & Business Curricula


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Supporting the Integration of Circular Economy in Secondary School Economics & Business Curricula
Case Study Presentation
Dr. Georgios Vouzaxakis, RCE Crete
Europe Regional Meeting 2019
13-14 September, 2019, Heraklion, Greece

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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Supporting the Integration of Circular Economy in Secondary School Economics & Business Curricula

  1. 1. Supporting the Integration of Circular Economy in Secondary School Economics & Business Curricula Dr. Georgios Vouzaxakis
  2. 2. Linear economy model A linear economy depends on two basic assumptions: one, that there will always be resources that can be extracted and two, that there will always be an “away” to send our discarded materials.
  3. 3. From Linear to Circular Economy Unlike the linear model of business that consumes and wastes resources, the idea behind Circular Economy is to mirror the ecosystem that leaves nothing wasted. Everything, from clothing to household items, food and tools, have a purpose and an after-life-purpose, so that “traditional waste” can be something useful to others or in another form.
  4. 4. SDGs and Circular economy In a way all the SDGs are related with the Circular Economy Model. Probably, the only way to approach these goals is to adopt this economy model.
  5. 5. Integration of Circular economy in School Curriculum • School tends to prepare people that reproduce and perpetuate an unjust growth-oriented society instead of active citizens ready to challenge sustainability injustices. • So it is not just a matter of learning circular economy techniques but empowering the reflection of daily established perceptions and practices • The curriculum needs to lead to • a process of emancipation to think critically about the dominant socio- economic model • action
  6. 6. The research • The use of DeCoRe plus methodological approach (Makrakis, 2017) and the action research conducted, resulted in a reconstructed curriculum based on open and flexible educational scenarios. • These scenarios can be used in all economic courses in Secondary Education as they are adaptable and they are not dealt as a ready-made outcome to be applied, but as a living process. • In the context of an action research, the above material was tested by a group of nine economist teachers, placed all over the country who were acting as co-researchers. • We will focus on two of the scenarios. At my school, I implemented both of them (High School of Mochos, Crete)
  7. 7. Scenario 1: Labor, where and how it was produced • Students are studying the clothing industry • The increasing consumption of clothes increases the demand for natural resources and creates environmental and social pressures throughout the life cycle of a garment. • Such pressures include: • soil, air and water pollution during production and transportation • use of water and energy for washing and drying clothes • emissions from waste of the production process.
  8. 8. Scenario 1: Labor, where and how it was produced Activities included: • raising awareness on the problem of labor exploitation and child labor with the use of interactive videos • experiential game to provoke reflection on consumer habits: • Students are asked to check the country where the T-shirt they are wearing were made in and are divided into groups according to it. • students respond in groups at a number of questions such as: • Why is it important to know as consumers the "history" of the products we buy? • The value e.g. 5.99 euros for a t-shirt includes the environmental damage we cause from the production and transport of the product? • What can we do as consumers? • How can we “close the cycle” of clothing industry? • Research to investigate the consumer’s attitudes of the local community
  9. 9. Scenario 1: Labor, where and how it was produced Action taken: • Informed the local community and motivated the local authorities to take actions towards recycling and reusing. • Awarded the 1st place at Recycling Contest among schools of Municipality of Hersonissos • Requested for a recycling bin for clothes collecting and utilizing off- the-shelf or out-of-fashion clothing • participated in actions of the non- governmental organization “Action aid”
  10. 10. Scenario 1: Labor, where and how it was produced The scenario was awarded the 2nd place at National level and the 3rd place at European level among 9 European countries at the 1st SAME WORLD European Contest for Good Practices in Environmental Sustainability Education Available at:
  11. 11. Scenario 2: Tragedy of commons • Scientists estimate that 640,000 tons of fishing gear end up lost in the seas and oceans every year. Not being biodegradable, nets remain on the seabed for hundreds of years, causing great damage to the marine ecosystem. • Our current economic model also puts pressure on the fishing and aquaculture sector to capture and produce as much fish as possible, as quickly as possible and for the lowest possible cost. • This leads to over-fishing
  12. 12. Scenario 2: Tragedy of commons Activities included: • Using an experiential game, the students play the role of fisherman and deal with the problem of the tragedy of communal resources • In a shared lake the individual interest of maximum production conflicts with the social interest of keeping fish in the lake. • Students discuss and look for solutions
  13. 13. Scenario 2: Tragedy of commons Action taken: • Informed the local community • Students created presentations / videos to report the problem of overfishing in the Mediterranean sea • Use and promotion of WWF Fish Guide app for responsible fishing consumption • Coast cleaning action at Stalida beach • Composting organic waste and recycling glass and plastic waste
  14. 14. Scenario 2: Tragedy of commons The scenario was awarded in 2019 as the best educational approach at Objective 14, in the lesson plans category, at the Panhellenic School Competition for the 17 Global Sustainable Development Goals, Bravo schools. Available at:
  15. 15. Thank you