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Deputy Minister Mabudafhasi launches the Fundisa for Change Education for Sustainable Development Programme

28 February 2014


Today, the Deputy Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Ms Rejoice Mabudafhasi, MP, launched the Fundisa for Change Education for Sustainable Development Programme at Emperor’s Palace, Ekurhuleni, Gauteng.

The launch of this programme marked the end of the two-day Fundisa for Change Education for Sustainable Development Conference which took place on 27 and 28 February 2014. The Fundisa for Change Conference was established through a partnership between the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), the South African National Biodiversity Institute’s (SANBI) GreenMatter programme, Rhodes University, the National Teacher Institution and other partners. The aim of the partnership and conference is to strengthen environmental education within the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) framework of South Africa for the training of teachers on content on environmental issues.

The Fundisa for Change Programme emanates from a consortium of national environment and education sector partners in South Africa, to strengthen environmental learning and teacher education. The Programme responds to two core issues:

• The curriculum content necessary for building national capacity for biodiversity management, sustainable use of natural resources, resilience to climate change, and building a green economy;

• The quality of teachers’ knowledge and ability to teach ‘new’ environmental content.

Speaking at the launch, Mabudafhasi said, “Our government has long realised the warning signs of the heavy price we pay if the environment is ignored.We heeded the warnings and started developing the relevant pieces of legislation. Our positive outlook emanates from the realisation that environmental education, which we tirelessly advocated for over the years, is finally taking centre stage. Key institutions are coming on board and this makes me now feel confident that our natural environment, upon which we so heavily depend, can be conserved and managed”.

“There is a need for a strong national partnership to fast-track the inclusion of new environmental content knowledge into the national system of education and training” said Mabudafhasi.

The conference was held under the theme “Building a national system of teacher education engagement for transformative environmental learning and education for sustainable development”.

Dr. Sibusiso Manzini, Executive Programme Director for GreenMatter says that the Fundisa for Change Network, when rolled out nationally, will help attract students into much needed green careers, and providing them with the foundational concepts for tertiary level. .

“The aptitude of our future generations to contribute meaningfully to a changing world rests on what our schooling systems and teachers can achieve today," he concludes.

Two types of teaching resources, including eight common property modules have been developed, some of which have been successfully piloted with teacher educators from across the country. Next year the programme aims to obtain endorsement for Fundisa for Change materials and programmes from the South African Council of Educators (SACE) to align with new policy developments in which teachers will obtain professional development points for completing Continuing Professional Development Programmes. The programme aims to offer Train-the-Trainer programmes for partners wishing to implement the Fundisa for Change programmes and materials. Additionally a national textbook for teacher education will be developed to ensure ‘critical mass’ and long-term sustainability of the programme.

A multi-institutional Fundisa for Change research programme will be launched, and already there are over ten Masters students and two PhDs engaged in Fundisa for Change research. With funded support from Murray & Roberts (who have supported the development of the Fundisa for Change teacher education materials), a seminar series will also be launched, to take place in ten national teacher education institutions this year, where staff members will be introduced to the programme and materials.

Speech: Deputy Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi launches Fundisa for Change Teacher Education for Sustainable Development Programme

For media enquiries:

Peter Mbelengwa (Spokesperson for the Deputy Minister - Department of Water and Environmental Affairs)
Cell: 082 611 8197

Chantal Ramcharan-Kotze (Head: Marketing and Stakeholder Management - GreenMatter and Fundisa for Change)
Cell: 083 265 5657