UNESCO ROSA - Second regional workshop in Swaziland

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UNESCO ROSA - Second regional workshop in Swaziland
UNESCO ROSA - Second regional workshop in Swaziland

‘Sustainability Starts with Teachers’!  Second regional workshop in Swaziland

UNESCO ROSA and its programme partners – the Southern African Regional Universities Association (SARUA), Rhodes University’s Environmental Learning Research Centre (ELRC) and SWEDESD, are hosting the second of two teacher educator action learning workshop in Swaziland from 18 to 21 July 2017. This follows the successful delivery of the first workshop in June 2017 in Lusaka, Zambia.

The two regional action learning workshops are important milestones for the ‘Sustainability Starts with Teachers’ project, which is a UNESCO international flagship action learning programme of the Global Action Plan on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). They are designed to introduce curriculum innovation in 60 participating Teacher Education Institutions (TEIs) from nine southern African countries.

The first workshop was attended by delegates from 27 Teacher Education Institutions (TEIs) in Malawi, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, and the second workshop involves 33 delegates from multi-campus TEIs in Botswana, Mozambique, Lesotho, South Africa and Swaziland. Joining the delegates at the Royal Swazi Spa Convention Centre in the Ezulwini Valley are the programme facilitators and their countries’ reference group members who have assisted in developing the programme. In total, 50 individuals are attending the Swaziland workshop, with delegates representing disciplines as diverse as agriculture, social sciences, geography and business studies.

UNESCO ROSA is represented by Dr Abdoul Wahab Coulibaly, Dr Patience Awopegba and Mr Moses Mukabeta, accompanied by Mr Marcos Cherinda from UNESCO Mozambique and Ms Nelisiwe Nick Ndwandwe representing the Swaziland National Commission for UNESCO. The programme design is led by Professor Lotz-Sisitka, SARChI Chair in Transfomrative Social Learning and Green Skills Learning Pathways from Rhodes University who, together with regional colleagues, Dr Sirkka Tshiningayamwe, Dr Caleb Mandikonza and Dr Sheperd Urenje (from the Swedish International Centre for Education for Sustainable Development), developed the learning materials and programme contents, drawing on the extensive experience of the Environmental Learning Research Centre at Rhodes University in international course design for Education and Sustainable Development.

Once the delegates have attended one of the action learning workshops, they are requested to initiate Communities of Practice on ESD in their respective TEIs, who can help them to refine and implement change projects according to five learning actions introduced during the four-day long programme. Change projects are ‘works in progress’ which will be developed by the networked Communities of Practice throughout 2017, with a review exercise of their progress and outcomes to take place in 2018. Delegates are also invited to become part of the already established SARUA Curriculum Innovation Network, launched in 2016.

By supporting teacher educators to initiate exemplary ESD change projects that will model best practice for ESD in the SADC region, on the African continent and internationally, Sustainability Starts With Teachers offers a learning network to drive curriculum innovation and transformation of secondary teacher education towards sustainability, and thereby directly addresses Goal 4 of the Sustainable Development Goals: “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning for all”.

An important differentiator of the programme is that workshop delegates are secondary teacher educators, not teachers. As teacher educators, they therefore need to use the professional learning of this programme to improve the education of teachers when back home. In turn, this will support teachers and give them the tools to integrate ESD into their teaching practice in secondary schools. The programme design allows for curriculum innovation to cascade from TEIs to secondary schools across southern Africa, and shows that southern Africa can be a leader in introducing ESD and positive change.