In Zimbabwe, all 16 Change Projects focus on curriculum transformation aimed at supporting SDG4, the new National Heritage-based Education philosophy, and the premises of Higher and Tertiary Education 5.0 which involves Teaching, Research, Community Service, Innovation and Industrialisation.
The projects also focus on the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Competence-Based-Curriculum, which is emphasized in the Zimbabwe Curriculum Framework (2015-2022).
Feedback during the Sustainability Starts with Teachers Cluster peer-review support workshops in 2020 revealed that all the participants recognize that Change Projects are dynamic and need to keep pace with the ever changing national socio-economic and political environment. The participants have recommended on-going cluster peer review support workshops as enablers to support their Change Project sustainability and contribute towards achieving the UNESCO 2030 Education Agenda.
Joseph Tsikira, a principal lecturer in the Early Childhood Development (ECE) Department at Masvingo Teachers' College dreamt of making personal contributions to teacher education development. Tsikira is one of the teacher trainers taking part in UNESCO’s Capacity-Building Programme for Education for Sustainable Development (CAP-ESD). The CAP-ESD programme, also called ‘Sustainability Starts...
Change Project: Incorporation of Indigenous Knowledge Systems in teaching and learning of Science
James Juma, Madziwa Teachers College (Primary Education focus)
Juma has identified that there is policy to support incorporation of cultural heritage into the science curriculum, and it is clearly spelt out in syllabus objectives, but there is no content to spell out what is to be done and how it should be done. Juma’s objective is to review practice against SDG 4.7, and the Science and Technology syllabus, objective 4, and address the gap between home life and school life.
Juma plans to facilitate a workshop for the Community of Practice members, consult schools, and draw on community members as resource persons. He would also like to workshop with practicing schools. He would like to focus in on water purification methods and approaches and biosphere cultural heritage environments.
“I have learned that in the 21st century, the most effective methodologies in teaching are participatory methods and that the methodology should be transformative in nature. This means I need to incorporate these into my teaching.”
Change Project: Heritage-based pedagogy and instructional material production
Tsikira asks himself: “How can the issues on instructional material production and toy production be infused into the teacher education curriculum?”
Tsikira is exploring a gap in policy. He has identified that ESD and toy production not well embedded in the teacher education curriculum policy and course outlines in Zimbabwe. Tsikira is focussing on use of locally obtainable ‘waste’ or materials that can be upcycled for making developmentally appropriate and culturally relevant learning materials and toys for ECE learners.
He recognizes the centrality of play in ECE, and the value of socio-culturally relevant play materials, however he notes that the prices of commercial instructional material production and toys are prohibitive.
“Instructional material production and toy production are not as prominent in teacher education and there is limited capacity amongst teachers. Teacher education is still lagging behind in harnessing heritage based instructional material production, toys and pedagogy.”
Change Project: The role of waste management in creating sustainable communities
Sibanda envisions improving the management of waste in his surrounding environment. Sibanda has identified that ESD concepts are not well represented in the curriculum and there is a lack of pedagogical skills amongst teacher educators. Moreover, students are not equipped with 21st century skills and assessment instruments do not include ESD 21st century skills.
Sibanda would like to conduct workshops with community of practice members, review the curriculum, as well as review pedagogical methods to inform curriculum review to include ESD pedagogical methods. Sibanda’s vision included integrated collaboration across disciplines and among community of practice members.
His project has changed over time, and he now would like to work with issue-based learning and transformative pedagogies to enable various environmental and sustainability issues to be tackled by the student teachers as they adapt to their environmental contexts taking into account drought, floods, waste management etc.
“I have learned a lot and identified gaps in teacher education which have to be addressed.”
Change Project: Designing a cost-efficient and easy to set up hydroponics system for students and families
Kanda’s Change Project was inspired by contextual issues of polluted soils and water shortages. Kanda would like to see the project infuse 21st century competences and incorporate transformative learning. Working with SDG 4, 1, 2, 6 and 15, Kanda shares the institutions vision for innovative and enterprising graduates, and national policy objective for productive citizens.
Kanda will identify Indigenous Knowledge Systems that can be mobilised in the project, to make it community friendly. She is interested in incorporating materials that can be used can be used in place of pvc pipes (e.g. clay pots ‘hari’) and experimenting the use of cow-dung and chicken manure for nutrients.
She has shifted her focus to transforming the curriculum and having students to do the projects in which marks are awarded so that this project does not become a personal project which can easily die off, but rather a resilient and sustainable initiative.
The most valuable aspects of the programme for Kanda were:
“Understanding the programme of ESD and collaboration with other sister countries; there was brilliant cross pollination of ideas! IK systems helped me to contextualise my Change Project and invoke different ways of doing things.”
“I have aligned my Change Project to the ministry’s and institutions’ policies, vision, mission and values. Use of IK systems helped me to penetrate and scale up the Change Project to the community so that they own it.”
“Our programmes need to reflect lifelong learning and make our students learn how to learn.”
Change Project: Engineering for Sustainable Development
“The curriculum is silent on ESD” noted Chikuruwo. Chikuruwo’s Change Project involves students in real-time leak detection as there is a loss of purified water due to inadequate competences to address damage of infrastructure.
Chikuruwo hopes to begin with a small area of focus, homing in on particular pipes and systems, and start a group project to address the issue. Chikuruwo ‘s approach focuses on transforming pedagogy.
“SD is a universal art and anyone can address the SDGs in their subject area or profession.”
Change Project: Scaling ESD into the Theory of Education Curriculum
Matamba plans to review institutional strategic plans, syllabi and education 5.0 plans, as well as the competence-based curriculum in MoPSE. Working with SDG 4, Matamba will target 4.7 and develop content, methodology and assessment.
Matamba would also like to align syllabus to 5.0 policy and competence-based curriculum, using systems thinking for infusing ESD and addressing SDGs in subjects. She will assess to see if syllabus reflects the aspects reflected in the ESD significant learning assessment model.
“I need to be more reflexive of what I and learners do. The teachers that will graduate will contribute to SD by transferring values, skills and competences.”
Change Project: Production of indigenous language booklets
Moyo’s focus is on SDG 4, with a vision of quality education in focus. Moyo believes there is not enough literature on ESD for early childhood education (ECE). She would like to see development of heritage-based education. Moyo will research and analyse relevant cultural heritage and IK to inform what stories can be used in the context of her teaching.
In researching stories Moyo asks herself: what are these stories addressing? Are they stories that promote ubuntu, or literature that contributes to the sustainability of communities? She plans to integrate indigenous stories, games, poems and rhymes using systems thinking into her teacher training. Moyo would like to invite resource persons for co-learning and demonstrations.
“I have gained knowledge of how to prepare for the Change Project and focussing of ‘E’ in ESD, and the benefits of ESD for the child.”
Change Project: Integrating ESD into the Industrial Attachment Programme
Mujurus values systems thinking and futures thinking. Mujuru has led his project with the ethic of ‘tread softly’, meaning care ethics. Mujuru believes students should be supported to learn using systems thinking so that they can practice their skills in their local communities. “Quality education is a concern; we need to develop in students 21st century skills and SDG 9 skills for decent work. Water, poverty, energy issues requires students to acquire new skills” says Mujuru.
Mujuru would like to collaborate with members of the community of practice to integrate IKS into lessons. He will include field-work-based assignments focussing on matters of concern and practical work which promotes the production of goods and services drawing content from the SDGs. Mujuru is starting student- initiated projects and an alternative assessment tool to improve the existing industrial attachment model of students.
“All the presentations and excursions were new and a rare lifetime experience, therefore I cherish the workshop very much. It is easy to bring about change if it is done within your community of practice and if there is collaboration. A Change Project does not have to die because a change agent is no longer on the scene. A Change Project can be started at classroom level.””
Change Project: Enhancing ESD in TVET through the use of ICTs in formative assessment
Nyika has concerns that students are not receiving adequate supervision in teaching practice due to economic hardships, and a lack of ICT skills. He also identified that there was a gap in policy concerning the use of ICTs in teaching and learning and in implementing competency based assessment. Nyika‘s focus is on a learner-centred approach to ICT use. He would like to focus on 21st century skills such as creativity, technological literacy, and innovation. “Innovation using ICTs can be linked to climate action” says Nyika.
“The programme has equipped me to go and effectively capacitate fellow workers on ESD practices. I was also equipped with skills and knowledge to implement a Change Project. All educators should be capacitated to implement ESD.”
Change Project: Integrating 21st Century Competences in Teacher Education Curriculum through Recycling, Re-using and Reducing Waste (3Rs)
Matsongoni’s vision is to focus on culture and heritage and the competence based curriculum as well as 21st century competences in the context of primary education. Matsongoni is creating a Community of Practice: including lectures from ECE, non-teaching staff and student reps. Matsongoni will focus on ESD 4.7, and ESD goal 3, health.
Matsongoni will undertake an environmental audit, take pictures of the environment, and integrate waste-management activities into different subjects. He will do this by using methods of collaborative learning, research, focus-group discussions, field trips, hands-on action learning, dramatization, poetry, and life stories and IK.
“It is going to change the face of my institution towards zero-litter. Change attitudes towards environmental issues. I am so grateful, I learned a lot and am inspired to enrol for a PhD programme on ESD.”
Change Project: Integration of ESD into teaching practice assessment instruments
Matsa identified that ESD is not explicit in policy and curriculum and lacks a rootedness in environment and local community concerns and locally available resources. Matsa would like to situate matters of concern in the curriculum, and include a focus on significant learning assessment, as well to integrate more 21st century competences into teacher training.
She would like to see teaching happening in more transformative ways at her institution. For example, making use of the handprint learning approaches as they help with care for others, self and surroundings. “Heritage artefacts from the museum and music library helped us realise we have a variety of heritage to be used in the classroom” says Matsa.
“I will now attempt to be a contextual, wholesome teacher educator linking teaching to ESD and SD issues.”
Change Project: Production of teaching and learning materials using locally available materials
Pakombwele’s vision is to introduce an ECE Centre at the College to better prepare student teachers to produce culturally appropriate learning materials as student teachers are not able to prepare teaching media. Pakombwele’s focus is on SDG 4, and the MoPSE’s competence-based curriculum, and heritage-based education 5.0.
Her community of practice includes parents, lecturers, first year students, and the academic board. Pakombwele’s methods will include fieldwork with students, community engagement with key resource persons, group work involving participatory learning, and infusing and integrating systems thinking. Pakombwele would like to interview students on their knowledge of critical issues, and consult the community of practice in order to undertake local research.
“Through being involved in the programme I got new knowledge on ESD, transformative learning, and pupil-teachers collaboration and participation, and the beneficial nature of field work. I got that in every lesson I should know how pupils are going to benefit.”
Change Project: Teaching and learning of children jointly incarcerated with mothers
Kuyayama wants to address the exclusion of marginalised children who are incarcerated with mothers. In order to do so, Kuyayama will review literature on incarcerated children and undertake a needs assessment at Chikurubi prison. This is in line with SDG 4 – inclusion.
Kuyayama will use meetings, workshops, discussions to undertake her research. Kuyayama would also like to assess visiting students documents, and observe students in action. Her vision is to scale this project to other prison settings, and engage an associated training college.
“Start small and scale up over time; collaborative work is critical; involve young children in determining their curriculum or establish what they know so that we can develop their knowledge, skills and attitudes; critical role of culture / context in facilitating the success of my Change Project”.
“I have learned how to transform my course outlines to integrate ESD, how to transform pedagogy in my courses, I was encouraged to collaborate with other departments; learned how to learn from my own students, not to give service to communities but to engage communities and also learn from their input. I am a changed teacher educator in terms of how I view Community Engagement.”
Change Project: Use of Biosphere Reserves and Indigenous Knowledge Systems in Science teaching and learning
Bhukuvhani identified that government policies support development of competences, however both national and institutional policies are not explicit about ESD. Bhukuvhani thus wants to develop science teaching and learning competences through use of biocultural heritage in biosphere reserves and Indigenous cultural knowledge (ICK) in science learning. Together with students and teachers, Bhukuvhani would like to develop innovative practical teaching tools for using biocultural heritage on teaching science concepts. He also aims to review course outlines to be ESD inclined and to improve pedagogy and content. Bhukuvhani ultimately wants to improve student teachers’ abilities to develop teaching materials and strategies using biocultural heritage in teaching science concepts.
“The programme brought new innovations and open-minded methodological approaches.”
Change Project: Intangible Cultural Heritage Maths and Science Booklet
Madondo started her Change Project due to a lack of learning materials that are culturally based and inclusive for ECE learners. Madondo is concerned that there is no national ECE policy, and a lack of curriculum harmonisation. Madondo emphasises the value of indigenous knowledge embedded in the Change Project, using cultural heritage resources to promote environmental care.
She is currently fine-tuning a course outline, learning domains and transformative methods to be undertaken. She envisions scaling up the project via production of a book series by both ECE teachers, teacher educators and student teachers.
“I learned that it is high time that we give student teachers practical assignments that involve them in environmental issues as opposed to regurgitating theories. Broadly, this course has changed my understanding of what matters in teacher education in the sense that as teacher educators we can do a lot to empower our students teachers with knowledge, skills and values.”
Change Project: Early ESD Literacy Development
In Chirume’s context, there is a lack of parental and community support and engagement in early literacy. Chirume seeks to involve parents and students in adopting transformative learning approaches. Methods of collaborative learning, life stories, demonstrations, and co-learning will be explored. Chirume would like students to engage in peer assessment, and co-assessment.
“This will contribute a long way by improving the quality of education that will be offered to our teacher trainees.”
Change Project: Towards a green campus: litter management and disposal
Ndhlula would like to improve litter management in his context. The probem is that there is too much litter on camps and an uncoordinated litter disposal system. Ndhlula will look into environmental management agency policies and the presidential clean-up campaign initiative. Thereafter, he will carry out a needs analysis, and undertake desktop research to identify critical issues and knowledge needed for SD.
Ndhlula would like to use participatory methods, groupwork and lectures as methods in his Change Project. Assessment will take place via monthly reviews, campus visits and observations using an environmental checklist and interviews with students. Eventually, Ndhula would like to see vertical scaling of the project, adding more refuse sites, and implementing the idea in other campuses.
“Being involved in the STT programme has made me realise that I need to teach for a difference, that is teach practical and real issues not only in education, but in sustainability as well.”