Education for Sustainability in Galapagos

Education for Sustainability in Galapagos


Education for Sustainability: Expanding Proven Educational Practices in Galapagos


Ecuador’s Ministry of Education, the Galapagos Governing Council, the Scalesia Foundation, Teachers to Teachers International, educators from various universities (Southern Methodist University, University of North Carolina, Stanford University, University of Puerto Rico, Rutgers University, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, University of Maryland, Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Universidad de las Fuerzas Armadas /ESPE) and independent educators from the US, Ecuador and Costa Rica.


Ongoing; in need of additional funding/technical expertise.

Schoolchildren in Galapagos

Photo © Teachers to Teachers International


The 5-year Education for Sustainability in Galapagos (ESG) Program seeks to transform Galapagos education in ways that will bolster long-term conservation in the islands and serve as a model for reform that can be replicated elsewhere. The Program’s goal is to improve education for the approximately 7,500 school age children in Galapagos by strengthening the content knowledge and pedagogical skills of every teacher in every school in the Islands. This goal serves our vision of a local society of civic-minded, critical thinkers who understand and appreciate what makes Galapagos unique; and who have the skills, attitudes, and commitment to pursue livelihoods that are consistent with preserving the delicate ecosystems of the Islands.

Program Need

Historically, Galapagos education has faced chronic challenges: due to the isolation of the islands, teachers have received little training in effective pedagogical practices or the content of areas they teach; instruction relies heavily on rote memorization; and past curricula failed to develop competencies required in the local work place or for university study. National standardized tests confirm that the performance of Galapagos students across subject areas and in the areas of verbal, reasoning, and abstract thinking skills is below that of their counterparts on the mainland.

Program Activities

The ESG Program has been designed based on the findings of a participatory needs assessment, known as the Listening Phase, conducted in 2014. Through this process and additional dialogue among program partners, we have embarked on a program that will deliver high-quality, evidence-based professional development (workshops and ongoing coaching and mentoring) for K-12 teachers in core subject areas: mathematics, science, language arts, social studies and English language. Additionally, training and coaching in educational leadership will be provided to school directors from every school in the Islands.

Training will be provided by a team of experienced Galapagos-based instructional coaches (one in each subject area) who will be supported by external Advisory Teams in each subject area. Intensive weeklong Teacher Institutes will be conducted by coaches and Advisory Teams every April and October, when teachers are in schools and students are on vacation. Coaches will provide afternoon workshops and coaching and mentoring throughout the year. The coaches will also support a network of professional learning communities organized by subject and grade level.

Current Needs:

  • Educators with extensive experience in educational leadership and core subject areas to serve on our Advisory Team.
  • Funding for coach salaries and operations in the area of math, science and English language.
  • Funding for future Training Institutes and short-term assignments of education specialists.
  • Funding for monitoring and evaluation activities.

For more information: please email Richard Knab, Galapagos Conservancy’s Director of Strategic Partnerships, or call 703 383-0077, ext. 205.

Download the ESG Program brochure.

Read about education in Galapagos on our blog.

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