Stakeholders and participants of the Capacity-Building Programme on Education for Sustainable Development (CAP-ESD) met in Harare on 31st January 2020 to review their Change Projects. Change Projects are institutional change initiatives to support the integration of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) into teacher education.
Participants reviewed each other’s project presentations. They examined the Change Projects’ contribution to national policies and strategies, alignment to national and institutional curricula, and how the ESD project was fostering lifelong learning and competencies relevant to 21st century challenges. The presentations showed that there is progress towards the inclusion of ESD in teacher education curricula and activities. Participants of the capacity-building programme appreciated the UNESCO Sustainability Starts with Teachers intervention for facilitating moves towards curriculum transformation.
Change Projects presented included improvements for teacher education focussing on topics such as Engineering for Sustainable Development, teaching and learning programmes for incarcerated children, Indigenous Knowledge Systems, hydroponic systems in Science education, and integration of ESD into the industrial attachment programme for students.
Peer responses and reviews showed that most projects met the standards set for a successful ESD Change Project Initiative. However, peer reviewers also identified that more attention should be given to the fostering of lifelong education and inter-departmental engagement and communication within the institutions in all Change Projects. Suggestions were given by peers and stakeholders to help improve each project in line with sustainable development goals.
Mr. J. Juro from the Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council presented on the Continuous Assessment (CA) Framework of Education. The current examination system was criticised for training students to pass examinations rather than for developing critical thinking skills. Continuous assessment allows for flexibility in assessing the real-life competencies of students. Mr. Juro said:
“Continuous Assessment is currently being developed to constitute 30% of the overall examination score”
Julia Heiss, UNESCO ROSA Education Programme Specialist said:
“Let us transform our students, let us not lose sight of that. We need an education system that prepares our students for sustainable life skills”
She commended the participants for showing passion and energy towards their Change Projects.
The UNESCO programme is helping to create synergies among institutions. Inroads have been made towards successfully integrating ESD into the teacher education system.
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