What is our history?

1986 – 1988
ENSI as OECD/CERI Innovation exchange project

ENSI was established 1986 as a project of OECD´s Centre for Educational Research and Innovation/CERI with 11 participating countries focussing on the promotion of environmental awareness and such “dynamic qualities” as initiative, independence and the readiness to accept responsibility. At that time, these relatively new school requirements were not normally related to each other. ENSI centred on the concept of environmentally oriented project teaching, which offered potential for the development of human creativity, intelligence and organisational skills.

It was self-evident that the experiences of the fundamental partnership (i.e. of teachers and pupils), were of decisive importance in this respect. This led to the development of a number of case studies in some countries, which were written by teachers using an action research method. (Action research is a method of systematic reflection on professional practice, in this case, employing teachers as the researchers.)

Final conference in Linz, Austria, 1988

Member countries

Austria, Belgium/Flanders, Denmark, England, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland

The beginning of ENSI The beginning of ENSI by Peter Posch The_beginning_of_ENSI.pdfPosch, P. (2015). The beginning of ENSI ISBN: mimeo
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Main publication/conference report:

Environmental Schools and Active Learning The environmental imperative poses new challenges to education systems: how can schools prepare children, tomorrow´s citizens, to become more sensitive to environmental concerns and develop a sense of responsibility for the world in which they live? This book discusses the pedagogical implications of this challenge based on concrete examples of environmental initiative in schools in a number of OECD countries. Selected for their innovative methods, these initiatives often call into question traditional boundaries between disciplines. Pupils had the possibility to define a project and its objectives, and then carry it out so as to have a concrete impact on the environment. Environmentschools.pdfOECD (1991). Environmental Schools and Active Learning. OECD, Paris.
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1989 – 1994
ENSI as full project of OECD/CERI

From 1989 to 1994 ENSI was a full project of OECD/CERI with 22 countries participating. The focus was on the evaluation of environmental education policies in a number of member countries, the development of quality indicators and the dissemination of research results and educational experiences. The outcome of this focus was the development of six in depth studies on Environmental Education policies by international expert teams in Australia, Austria, Finland, Germany, Hungary and Norway.

In addition a series of international workshops were conducted and published:

Member countries

Australia, Austria, Belgium/Flanders + Vallonie, Canada, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Norway, Portugal, Scotland, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United States

Final conference in Braunschweig, Germany, 1994

Environmental Learning for the 21st Century OECD_environmental_Learning.pdfOECD (1995). Environmental Learning for the 21st Century. OECD, Paris.
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1995 – 2004
ENSI as decentralised network of OECD/CERI

From 1995 until 2004 ENSI has been a decentralised network under the umbrella of OECD/CERI as part of the CERI project “Schooling for tomorrow”. ENSI established a decentralised secretariat in Scotland (1996-1997), Austria (1998 – 2002) Germany (2002 – 2004) and Switzerland (since June 2004 - 2006, 2008 - 2018), the Netherlands (2007 – 2008), an ENSI Executive Board (1998), a constitution (2000) and its website (2001).

ENSI presidents:

In 1995 ENSI decided on four focus themes: Teacher Education, Quality Assessment, Networking and ICT and ECO-Schools.

In 1997 the European Commission dismissed an ENSI network-project proposal

In 1999 ENSI decided to develop projects along the four focus themes as its working scheme.

In 2001 ENSI decided to apply for EU fundings.

In 2002 the European Commission accepted a proposal for the establishment of the ENSI SEED COMENIUS III network (school development through environmental education)

In 2004 OECD ended its umbrella function

2002 – 2014

From 2002 to 2014 ENSI designed and cooperated in four relevant EU-funded Comenius networks. All of them have found high recognition by the target groups and they have reached high scores by the evaluators of EACEA.

Partners from the following countries cooperated in the diverse projects:

Australia, Austria, Belgium/Flanders, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain/Catalonia, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, UK

2005 – 2015
ENSI as independent network going global

In 2004 ENSI has started to develop its relationship with UN organisations:

In June 2004 ENSI has been invited by the Director General of UNESCO to become an institutional partner in the framework of the UN Decade on Education for Sustainable Development.

2007 – 2009: ENSI, UNEP/UNESCO Polski and Carpathian Convention: CASALEN, Education for Sustainable Development in the Carpathian region

In December 2005 ENSI has been adopted as observer in the Bureau of the UNECE-ESD Steering Committee.

2006 – 2008: Collaboration with Council of Europe.

2008: ENSI became an international non-profit organisation under Belgian law.

2014: ENSI’s Head of Secretariat has been invited to become member of the board of WEEC (World Congress for Environmental Education)

2015 - ENSI international Austria

In spring 2015 ENSI has been moved from Belgium to Austria and is now an Association under Austrian law.

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