Sustainability Starts with Teachers - a UNESCO Flagship Project

This Flagship Project has the ambition to create new teaching and learning approaches for sustainable development, and to build capacity for mainstreaming ESD in teacher education institutions. With the advent of the UNESCO Global Action Programme (GAP) on ESD such initiatives offer a platform for launching large scale ESD mainstreaming in teacher education practices in ways which are contextually situated and globally connected.

The project focuses on the institutionalisation of ESD approaches in teacher education institutions in both Southern Africa and Central Asia, with the view of developing the key sustainability competences to compliment the relevance and quality of teaching and learning in the schools. Consequently, the programme aims at empowering teacher educators with capacity for adapting/adopting new approaches, proficiency in developing knowledge, and skills and values that enables learners to contribute to a sustainable society. The ultimate goal is therefore, to increase the quantity and quality of teachers who are capable of facilitating relevant knowledge of the 21st century and empower learners with competences essential for a sustainable society.

During 2015 SWEDESD developed, with partners, a ESD scaling model called ReSolve. The ambition is that Resolve will be used in the Flagship project for self-reflection, monitoring and evaluation of ongoing ESD 'Change Projects' which subsequently will be implemented in about 60 institutions in each region. The change project approach is a process that supports teachers and teacher educators through all the steps in the implementation of ESD, everything from diagnosing what needs to be changed and defining relevant issues, to taking and evaluating action. SWEDESD is taking the lead in developing support for teacher educators in both Southern Africa  and Central Asia to integrate sustainable development priorities and goals into their teacher education programmes.

The training is intended to target heads and deans of selected institutions as well heads units in Ministries of Education that are dealing with ESD. The work provides guidance for the regions in the integration process of ESD, both in their institutions’ curriculum, teaching and learning practices, as well as in management of their institutions. It will also illustrate pedagogical principles and processes that need to be integrated in teaching and learning to achieve ESD learning. Teacher Education Institutions (TEIs) that participate in the project will be encouraged to develop follow-up plans to integrate ESD into their institution’s training.

Approximately 84 teacher educators from 42 institutions have so far participated in a professional development course in Southern Africa, and now the focus is on doing similar courses for institutions in Central Asia, based on that experience.

  • Duration 2015-2018
  • Partners UNESCO, Southern African Development Community and Regional Environmental Education Programme (SADC REEP)
  • Funders UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa
  • Contact Shepherd Urenje, shepherd.urenje@swedesd.uu.se