Fundisa for Change is a Professional Learning Community made up of environmental and teacher education partners collaborating and working with teachers across South Africa to improve and strengthen ESD and environmental learning in schools.
Although the programme has a national coordinator based at SANBI to manage and administer the programme, it operates under an emergent consortium structure.
The Fundisa for Change programme works within an emergent consortium structure, involving national environment and education sector partners in South Africa. It was established (initially through a partnership between the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, SANBI’s GreenMatter Programme and national teacher education institutions, and partners). The objective was to strengthen transformative environmental and ESD learning in teacher education within the Curriculum framework of South Africa, and a broader Education for Sustainable Development framework through a co-ordinated, participatory, national system of engagement.
The Fundisa for change network was established in response to: research findings from three major environmental sector strategy research programmes, including:
- The South African Environmental Sector Skills Plan;
- The SANBI/GreenMatter Biodiversity Human Capital Development Strategy; and
- The Global Change Grand Challenge National Research Plan Human Capital Development Strategy.
The reports all found that the foundations of environmental learning in South Africa needed more attention if the environmental sector human capital development needs of the country were to be met within a longer term sustainability paradigm.
Core to this are two issues, identified in all of the strategic research:
- The quality of teachers’ knowledge, and teachers’ abilities to teach ‘new’ environmental knowledge; and
- The curriculum content necessary for building national capacity for biodiversity management, sustainable use of natural resources, resilience to climate change challenges, and building a green economy.
The Fundisa for Change programme’s mandate has gained significance, in relation to two recent policy developments, namely South Africa’s commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals, and the South African DHET’s revised Minimum Requirements for Teacher Education that now integrate Education for Sustainable Development into the minimum requirements for Teacher Education.
These policy developments position the Fundisa for Change Professional Learning Community as a multi-disciplinary, cross cutting structure with capability to directly make contributions to the need for a crosscutting intervention to strengthen Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and the environmental learning focus in Teacher Education.
The Fundisa for Change Programme directly addresses Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4), which focuses on quality education. SDG 4 clearly indicates that including sustainable development in education is necessary for achieving relevant, quality education. Specifically, target 4.7 of SDG 4 requires all governments to:
By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote Sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable Development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development.
Additionally, there is clear recognition that education (Goal 4) is also required for all of the other sustainable development goals to be realized and engaged by citizens around the world.