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ESD Mainstreaming in Teacher Education


For the past 16 years WESSA has been supporting Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) across the SADC region.  Simply put, ESD is good quality, relevant education that contributes towards sustainable living.  In this regard WESSA has worked in education and training institutions, in local government, in Agriculture as well as in the Natural Resources Management sectors. 

During the initial project period (April 2013 to 31 March 2014) WESSA, through the SADC Regional Environmental Education Programme (REEP) and the Swedish International Centre of Education for Sustainable Development (SWEDESD), worked with teacher education institutions (colleges and university faculties) to enhance environment and sustainability learning.  The aim of this phase was to enhance agency for mainstreaming sustainability planning, learning and action.

Twenty teacher education institutions from 14 SADC member states have been involved in these training activities so far.  The capacity development processes (February 2013 and February 2014) started with meetings with Deans of Education Faculties and Principals of Colleges.   At these meetings a road map for training of teacher educators was developed and each institution committed to ‘change projects’ in their institutions.  A ‘change project’ is any project that changes actions and practices towards sustainable living.  Examples of change projects include lessons that address water conservation practices, recycling activities, as well as fieldwork practices such as water quality monitoring.

The training of teacher educators followed (April 2013 and April 2014) and a practice-based approach to enhancing skills in planning and teaching was applied.  This approach mainstreams sustainability and the environment in all learning contexts.  Sustainability principles have also been introduced to first year students.  The concept of a sustainability commons, where experimental low-carbon technologies are installed and utilised, has also been developed in a number of teacher training institutions.

The teacher education capacity development programme is anchored in a SADC teacher education network which was started in 2008 through partnerships between the SADC REEP, the SADC Education and Skills Development Programme and various teacher education institutions. Change projects continue to support lecturers, teacher educators, and pre-service students.

The SADC Education Ministers have expressed interest in this initiative, especially in finding opportunities for applying Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) as an organiser of emerging and cross-cutting issues in education.  WESSA, through the SADC REEP, is proud to be part of this SADC-wide initiative which promotes sustainable living especially since, through working with teacher training institutions, the project has such a significant multiplier effect.

Project contact details

Tich Pesanyi, SADC/Government Programme Manager
Tel 033 330 3931 ext 2165
Cell 082 412 2129