Sustainability Starts with Teachers course 2020, ends on a high note

This year’s regional course was a resounding success. Over 100 teacher and TVET educators from Zambia, Lesotho and South Africa participated in the virtual course on Education for Sustainable Development for a twenty-day period from the 14th of September to 13th November 2020.

In his welcoming remarks, the Vice Chancellor of Rhodes University, Dr Sizwe Mabizela recognised the efforts of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) performers   to make our planet a better place to live on. On the same occasion, the Regional Director of UNESCO Professor Hubert Gijzen, further explained that ESD requires innovative, learner-centred teaching and learning methods to help empower learners with the knowledge, skills and values they need to address the social, environmental and economic challenges of the 21st century.

The overall objective of the Sustainability Starts with Teachers programme and course is to  support educators  to integrate ESD into all areas of education and support  the implementation of Target 4.7 of Sustainable Development Goal 4.The course t focused on developing advanced leadership in ESD and provided teacher educators with  the theoretical and practical foundations to strengthen ESD Change processes in the three countries. The virtual course which entailed daily on-line lectures complimented with working sessions was designed to achieve the following learning outcomes: :

  1. Comprehensive shared understanding of  the ESD context in the three countries;
  2. Deepened theoretical and practical knowledge of ESD change processes relevant to teacher and TVET education in SADC;
  3. Expanded understanding of the importance of transformative learning and assessment processes to support change;
  4. Increased appreciation of available ESD resources, tools and good practices from previous capacity building efforts in the country, region and beyond;
  5. Developed strategies to roll out “change projects” in TE and TVET institutions;
  6. Established network of support to enable the key project-implementing partners to understand their respective roles and commitments, and begin the implementation processes for their projects.

During the course, participants had an opportunity to present and further develop their ESD Change Projects. These are institutional change initiatives in Teacher Education and TVET institutions supported by the programme. The programme also demonstrates the importance of contextualizing ESD by integrating cultural heritage and indigenous knowledge into teaching on sustainability practices.  Participants were also exposed to the new global frame work  “ESD for 2030” which  will be  launched in Africa on November 26, 2020. Register here

Following  the course, participants will return to their  respective institutions and implement their Change Projects with their communities of practice. Next years, the trained teacher educators will attend a regional   ‘policy dialogue meeting   and present the progress and achievements of their institutional programmes and its contribution to  transformative learning to senior education policy makers.