Strengthening the National System of Engagement

Northern Cape Department of Education welcomes Fundisa for Change

Through the Northern Cape Department of Education, a one-day workshop was held to familiarise officials with the Fundisa for Change programme and to plan a wayforward with the Fundisa for Change programmes in the province.  In May 2018 the Intersen Natural Science and Social Science curriculum advisors will embark on the Fundisa for Change programme linked to the concepts of Water and Climate change. 


KWAZULU Natal Life Sciences teachers engage with Biodiversity in CAPS

The Kwazulu Natal Fundisa for change Course was held at Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve.  The course was facilitated by Janet Snow and Nomvuyo from UCT, supported by the WESSA Education staff located at Umgeni Valley, SANBI, Rhodes University through Professor Rob O’ Donoghue, Shanu Misser and KZNEDETEA and DEA.  30 Life Sciences Gr 10 to 12 teachers participated in the course Teaching Biodiversity.           

Teachers comments are noted below:                   

“One of the best courses that I have attended.”

“Best developmental course ever.  I have enjoyed this course from the first day to the last day and I have learnt a lot and I am not the same teacher as I was before I came here”.

“It was excellent and no other course compares to it”

Teachers have found the course to be inspiring and motivational.  The resources they found most useful were the EnviroTeach, wetland posters as well as the Fundisa Materials. Teachers felt that the course should be extended to all educators.  Most felt that they could directly relate to the course and will use it in their own teaching and assessing and will share it with their colleagues.  Some teachers felt they would like to have more information on practical’s and field work. A significant observation is that all the teachers wanted to have more continuity with the course and felt that it should be over a longer period.  All teachers wanted to find out more about further professional development courses in this field.


Teaching Biodiversity in Life Sciences Grade 10 to 12

Environmental and Sustainability content is deeply embedded in the Life Sciences subjects.  Teachers in the Waterberg district have indicated a need to understand this content better to help them teach it in more meaningful ways. A successful week-long Biodiversity workshop was conducted by the Fundisa for change Programme, for 23 teachers from Limpopo in the Waterberg District. This workshop was held from the 3rd to the 7th July 2017.  Professor Soul Shava, together with SANBI, DEA and the Fundisa for Change National co-ordinator facilitated the Biodiversity sessions.

The workshop was designed to support teachers to be able to deal with the concept of Biodiversity, methods, processes and learning skills of using the textbook to support the teachers during teaching and learning.

The workshop was held at the Lapalala Wilderness School.  Positive comments from the district officials and teachers who have participated in the course were received. Teachers indicated: “The course was exceptional excellent and helpful in terms of content and assessments and methods.” (Ndlovu Bethuel” or “The course was enhancing empowering and of great value …(Komana Ivy Bambo ).

Our belief is that by strengthening the knowledge and skills of the teachers, they, in turn, can support thousands of learners through their guidance in developing their understanding of biodiversity and integrating these into their classroom teaching environment.  These workshops clearly showed that, despite a dire lack of resources and a poor, initial general knowledge of Biodiversity issues, teachers were incredibly eager to take what they have learned back into the classroom. There was strong support from the participants for workshops of a similar nature in the future and even registering to study further in the field of Environmental Education. We strongly believe that this will ultimately contribute to the development of future environmentally-literate citizens equipped with the knowledge to make sound decisions about their world. 

A culmination of this workshop has been a request from the teacher to run more workshops focusing on taxonomy and climate change issues because teachers are wanting to be more confident to be able to teach these topics.  Clearly there is great “valuing” of the Fundisa for Change courses by the teachers.

Prepared by: Mashudu Makhokha,
Director : Lapalala Wilderness School