Tanzania is the eighth country to join the Sustainability Starts with Teachers (SST) programme. A virtual workshop held on 27 and 28 April 2021 kick-started the implementation of the programme in Tanzania. Over 50 Teacher Educators, Technical Vocational Education, and Training educators attended the event from all corners of the country, senior government officials and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) experts.

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, Dr Lyabwene Mtahabwa commissioner for education, in the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology highlighted that the importance of  ESD is recognized in the country’s policies and   reflected  in curricula in a cross cutting manner. He cited a number of policies and frameworks that provide a conducive environment for the SST programme and commended that ESD should start at an earlier age to develop the values, dispositions and behavior needed to embark in sustainable development.

Participating teacher educators highlighted systemic shortcomings in relation to ESD integration in schools and teacher education institutions curricula and practices. The main constraining factors raised, include the general lack of understanding of ESD principles, which leads to a lack of supporting structures within institutions. Participants also pointed at poor implementation plans, resistance to transform to ESD amenable 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 of their own institutions’ “Change Projects”. These are institutional transformative initiatives in Teacher Education and TVET institutions supported by the SST programme.

Tanzania will be joined by, Malawi and Eswatini in the Regional Training Course on ESD starting in September 2021. Traditionally the course is held at Rhodes University but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this year’s course session will be conducted online. The course will give participants an opportunity to present and further develop ESD Change Projects in their institutions.

For more information on SST contact: j.heiss@unesco.org and c.chikunda@unesco.org