What is an RCE?
A Regional Centre of Expertise (RCE) are networks around the world who promote education for sustainable development. Although there are 127 RCE's worldwide, only four exist in Australia.
The Gippsland RCE was formed in December 2011 and consists of representatives from state and local government, primary, secondary and tertiary schools and members of the community. The majority of RCE's are linked to a University and Gippsland RCE is linked to Federation University Australia.
Functions of an RCE
RCEs bring together institutions at the regional/local level to jointly promote ESD. They build innovative platforms to share information and experiences and to promote dialogue among regional/local stakeholders through
partnerships for sustainable development. They create a local/regional knowledge base to support ESD actors, and promote four major goals of ESD in a resource-effective manner. These four goals are to:
- re-orient education towards sustainable development, covering existing programmes/subjects from the point of ESD and designing an integrated SD curricula. ESD programmes are tailored to address issues and local context of the community in which they operate;
- increase access to quality education that is most needed in the regional context;
- deliver trainers' training programmes and to develop methodologies and learning materials for them;
- and lead advocacy and awareness raising efforts to raise public awareness about the importance of educators and the essential role of ESD in achieving a sustainable future. RCEs promote the long-term goals of ESD, such as environmental stewardship, social justice, and improvement of the quality of life.
Conducted in December 2014, Gippsland RCE invited 20 schools, 400 students and 50 teachers to FedUni Gippsland Campus to discuss sustainability in their school.
Every school had a display on their sustainability achievements and Yinnar South PS, Newborough PS, Kurnai College, St Pauls PS, Commercial Rd PS and Toongabbie PS made 15 minutes presentations to the group. Some of the schools had built frog ponds, planted trees, created learning spaces and outdoor classrooms, water and energy saving initiatives, recycling, learning and sharing.
Open space forum
Conducted in April 2014 under the theme "Creating a sustainable Gippsland, what are the issues and opportunities". 42 stakeholders representing Government, education, four Gippsland shires, residents and small business owners participated in the forum. Some of the themes discussed were:
- Community gardens
- Sustainability of public land
- Community power
- Renewable energy in Gippsland