The National Strategy on Education for Sustainable Development 2014-2020 highlights the need to integrate education for sustainable development (ESD) into the curriculum from pre-school to senior cycle. The National Strategy aims to ensure that education contributes to sustainable development by equipping learners with the relevant knowledge (the ‘what’), the key dispositions and skills (the ‘how’) and the values (the ‘why’) that will motivate and empower them throughout their lives to become informed, active citizens who act for a more sustainable future.
Computer science supports education for sustainable development by integrating the key skills of senior cycle throughout its strands. Many of the contexts used to explore the knowledge and understanding of computer science provide opportunities to discuss the practical and ethical aspects of computing, and to consider the use of computers and related technology from a societal perspective.
In strand 1, the practices and principles of computer science are encountered in a context-based approach related to social, professional, and scientific contexts. Students will appreciate how the use of computing technology impacts on communities. In strand 2, students learn how solutions can be designed that exploit the power of computers. They will consider ethical dilemmas and contexts relating to the use of computers, including how the resources used in the product lifecycle—water, fuel, and electricity—can increase energy efficiency by changing systems and ways of working. In strand 3, as students build computational artefacts, they appreciate the possibilities of how computing technology can provide ways to protect natural resources. For example, students will learn how modelling can be used to optimise systems to improve efficiency and reduce the damaging impact of energy-consuming infrastructures and systems. Throughout the course, students will apply the fundamental practices and concepts of computer science and develop an appreciation of the diverse role of computing technology in society and the environment in which they live.