Eswatini became the ninth country to join the Sustainability Starts with Teachers (SST) programme. A virtual workshop held from 4 – 5 May 2021 kick-started the implementation of the programme in the country. Over 55 Teacher Educators, Technical Vocational Education, and Training educators, senior government officials and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) experts attended the event.
Participants developed a common understanding of the context for ESD in the country, shared ideas for the implementation of the SST programme, including its vision, objectives and expected impact.
In his opening remarks, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education and Training, Mr Betram Steward expressed confidence that the training programme would equip teacher educators with the necessary skills to work towards sustainable development.
In spite of the enabling policy framework, various speakers acknowledged systemic weaknesses in integrating ESD in the entire education system. The main constraining factors raised include the general lack of understanding of ESD, which leads to a lack of political will, and supporting structures within institutions. Participants also pointed at poor implementation plans, resistance to transform to ESD-compliant pedagogies and an exam-oriented system that appears to promote rote learning as other constraints to ESD integration in the education system.
The gaps and opportunities presented during the workshop inspired participants in developing initial ideas for their own institutions’ “Change Projects”. These are institutional transformative initiatives in Teacher Education and TVET institutions supported by the SST programme.
Eswatini will join Malawi and Tanzania in the Regional Training Course on ESD starting in September 2021. Traditionally, the course takes place at Rhodes University but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this year’s course session will be online. The course will give participants an opportunity to present and further develop ESD Change Projects in their institutions
This is a great initiative. All thanks to UNESCO. As educators in EswatinI, we welcome this opportunity with open arms grabbing it with both hands. It will really improve the education system with these great ideas on issues of sustainability locally and globally. The curricukum will be indeed sustaibable opening long lasting opportunities to our learners .Looking forward to the start of the course in September thank you so much.
We commend the UNESCO initiative of the SST program. As teacher educators, we aim at engaging our students, lecturers, management in initiating a change project that will inform the integration of ESD through curriculum change and innovation across all our programs. We hope to achieve much if our policy frameworks, especially in curriculum development and our relevant ESD goals are well aligned.
I am very grateful to Rhodes University and UNESCO for the opportunity given to teachers/lecturers/instructors to participate in bringing about change to our curricula to promote education for sustainable development. I am looking forward to making invaluable contribution towards transforming Eswatini TVET curricula to embrace education for sustainability development.
Sharing the common understanding about ESD in order to come up with initial ideas about the change projects you could embark on was a good starting point. In addition, Identification of factors that could affect smooth implementation of ESD change project was also commendable. This approach, if continued at institutional level, would win support from all members of staff as they would feel that they are part and parcel of the development process of the ESD change project.
Exam oriented teaching makes teachers to loose track of the application aspects of education. if the focus could be on real life application it would be better.
we need to revisit our curriculum focus
We are so grateful for the Ministry of Education and Training to be in support of such an initiative.
The programme is wonderfully, because it brings some ideas by exchanging concepts in different countries. The way how others are solving problems according to their environment. It helps to come back again to our indigenous knowledge and skills.
The integration of ESD into the entire education system is going to work well only if we agree to focus much on the assessment for learning and assessment as learning as opposed to assessment of learning that seems to predominate in our education systems. It is said that assessment of learning tends to encourage rote learning.
I am so grateful for the initiative made by the Ministry of Education in Malawi which has made it possible for me to access the content in ESD.