Since 2020 Lesotho has desired to have a national Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) strategy to support the country towards its vision 2030 agenda. ESD infuses key sustainable development issues into teaching and learning such as climate change, disaster risk reduction, biodiversity, poverty reduction, and sustainable consumption. The gap in ESD was revealed by a number of ESD practitioners in the country in March 2020 during the UNESCO Sustainability Starts with Teachers (SST) inception workshop. Since then, the country has been working with SADC allies to advance ESD integration into policies and curriculum frameworks.
Through extensive consultation, an ESD regional strategy was endorsed by the SADC Council of Ministers of Education in June 2022 as a reference document for member state to develop their own national ESD strategies. Drawing from the regional strategy, Lesotho stakeholders put together a national ESD strategy at the end of November 2022, a big step towards ESD integration into policies and curriculum frameworks. Crafting of the national ESD strategy involved a number of participants from various government departments, representatives of youth and ESD actors from civil society reflected on existing policies and ESD initiatives in education institutions and communities. Prominent initiatives came from institutions of higher education participating in the UNESCO led SST programme. A total of 33 Teacher Educators and TVET instructors successfully went through the SST course and implemented ESD curriculum transformation projects in their institutions. To date, the country boasts of 688 teachers who have gone through an ESD integrated teacher education course.
Policy dialoguing gave participants the opportunity to examine the challenges, lessons learnt over time and key elements to be included into the national ESD Strategy from a perspective of policy makers, youth, academics, teacher and TVET educators. As next steps, Lesotho will engage a consultant to oversee the validation of the strategy by national stakeholders as reference is made to policy discussions, the ESD for 2030 framework as well as the SADC ESD strategic framework.