Eswatini will become the ninth country in Southern Africa to join the Sustainability Starts with Teachers programme, with an inaugural workshop to be held from 4 to 5 May 2021.
With funding from SIDA, the programme responds to the fact that teacher education needs to be aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and teachers need to be supported to understand and implement Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).
The country has a conducive policy environment, especially the National Educational and Training Sector Policy of 2018 for the Ministry of Education and Training, provides a good framework for ESD implementation. However, the recent survey (ESD scan), conducted under the programme in teacher education institutions, reveals a disjuncture between policy and practice. At teacher education level, ESD is mostly offered using a fragmented approach in the curriculum and a separate subject approach. ESD issues are not yet mainstreamed in both pre-service and in-service teacher education programmes. Teacher educators lack the capacity and confidence to implement ESD except for those who teach geography and agriculture related subjects. Furthermore, a general perception of ESD as an addition to what is already a heavy curriculum for teacher education seems to discourage teacher educators to include sustainable development themes and ESD pedagogies and experiential learning in a system that is exam-oriented.
The SST programme therefore, aims to strengthen implementation of ESD in teacher education institutions for teachers and educators from Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE), primary, secondary and Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET). Key discussion topics will include sustainability challenges in the country, ESD and SDGs in curricula, as well as Teacher/TVET education curricula. The workshop is expected to achieve the following
- Initiate, with stakeholders, the implementation of the SST programme in Eswatini and share it’s vision, objectives and expected impact;
- Develop a shared understanding of the context for ESD in Eswatini ;
- Identify available ESD resources, tools and good practices from previous capacity building efforts in the country, region and beyond;
- Initiate “change projects” in TE and TVET institutions;
- Discuss the implementation processes of the project and enable the key project-implementing partners to understand their respective roles and commitments.
More than 60 participants from various teacher education and TVET institutions across Eswatini as well as ESD expert and representatives from government departments are expected to participate in the two day workshop.