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Prof. Juan Manuel Ojea Quintana
Juan Manuel Ojea Quintana is a renowned professional in the Education field, His expertise lies in the field of design and implementation of high impact, nationwide, socio-educative programs. Presently he is the Director of Education of the Undersecretary of Energy Efficiency and Savings- Ministry of Energy and Mines, Argentina

Nowadays there is an increasing international recognition in thatEducation on Sustainable Development is an integral element of quality and a driving force for sustainable development to be practiced. Both the Muscat Agreement which was adopted at the 2014 Global Meeting on Education for All and the proposal for the Sustainable Development Goals formulated by the United Nations include Education for Sustainable Development in the main proposed goals. In 2013, the 37th General Conference of UNESCO endorsed the Global Program of Education for Sustainable Development as a follow-up of the decade. Building on the achievements of the decade, a Global Program of Action was designed with the objective of generating and implementing education initiatives all around the world.

It is known that one of the key factors for sustainable development is related to the reduction of carbon emissions. In this context, education on the topic of energy efficiency must be a central pillar for any proposal on Education for Sustainable Development because acting on the use of energy and addressing its impact are much more immediate results than other forms of mitigation. It must also be a central pillar focusing on behavior change, counting on with the school and the family environs as key settings to create awareness and change in those responsible for the implementation of environmental education policies.


Formal education on energy efficiency an additional step towards sustainable development

The Argentine National Government promotes a rational/responsible use of energy, taking into account its positive influence on the protection of non-renewable resources, the reduction of costs for the provision of energy services and the mitigation of the environmental issues associated with the production, transport, distribution and consumption of energy in all its forms.

Within this framework, the Ministry of Energy and Mines created an Education Management Unitin the organizational structure of the Undersecretariat of Energy Efficiency and Savings. This unit is in charge of developing educational programs for all levels of the system with the purpose of educating on the rational and efficient use of energy while building technical capacities in the society.

In partnership with the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Energy and Mines works to generate valuable capacities to perform in a world of permanent change and creates, through teacher trainings, workshops, educational material, seminars and creative proposals, a repertoire of actions that bridge the gap between our projected desires for an endless availability of energetic resources and the reality call for the rational, responsible and efficient use of them.

One such example is the recent joint work on establishing common standards on energy efficiency for the curricula of key careers such as Architecture and Engineering in all its relevant branches (Civil, Environmental, Electric, Electromechanic, Electronic, Industrial, Chemical, Mechanical, Petroleum, Metallurgy, Materials,Transport, Energy and Food.

To this end, this initiative contemplated all 103 National Universities (public and private ones) that offer undergraduate degrees which were considered strategic to the energy efficiency endeavor.More than 50% of the universities answered to the initiative thus achieving national representation, a true challenge under the federalsystem of Argentina.

The methodology consisted in a series of workshops to come up with a final common paper on common standards on energy efficiency education at undergraduate levels. After a kick off meeting announcing the initiative three consecutive workshops took place aiming at sharing the thoughts, ongoing efforts and initial proposals on educational standards on energy efficiency. A final document was jointly elaborated and its content is organized as follows:

1. Key abilities an undergrad of the identified strategic careers should have developed at the end of its studies.

2. Present state of art at strategic careers in regards of such abilities

3. Implementation strategies to incorporate energy efficiency into the formal curricula.

The experience was a manifesto of sincerity and consensual team work which now enters a second stage: that of implementation.

The Ministry of Energy and Mines is following on the approval and endorsement of these standards by the National Committee for Academic Evaluation and Accreditation and the Academy of National Education.

Elaborating these common standards has been a large encouragement work which also talks to the long term view the energy efficiency endeavor is committed to. It has also been one of the first steps of the National Education plan the Undersecretariat of Energy Efficiency and Savings has outlined. By all odds an essential “must do” to achieve long term goals related to the sustainable development agenda.