GENERAL

Futures Research

Background

 

The futures research was commissioned by the Regional Environmental Education Support Project (SADC REES) and was undertaken by Professor Karsen Schnack, Dr. Ben Parker and Ms Teresa Squazzin. The research focused on four major Danish-funded environmental education projects which had been operating in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region over the last several years: the Regional Environmental Education Support Project (SADC REES); Supporting Environmental Education in Namibia (SEEN); the Lesotho Environmental Education Support Project (LEESP); and the National Environmental Education Project - General Education and Training phase (NEEP-GET: South Africa). This report looks at changes in the global, African and SADC contexts that have occurred since the projects were conceptualised and started; and attempts to draw together project learnings.

Highlights

The study provides insights into six broad 'areas of interest' of the Danida projects. These are:

a. Institutionalisation

How change and learning are viewed, and how these views sit with the institutions projects are situated within have important impacts on effectiveness of processes aimed at institutionalisation.

b. Implementation

  • issues around initial project conceptualisation
  • management issues

c. Research-based implementation

A major innovation in three of the projects was the establishment of formative monitoring and evaluation processes to better inform the project around contextual changes.

d. Emerging issues in education

Issues here included:

•  Whole school development
•  Assessment/assessment as learning
•  Issues around learning support materials
•  Contextual learning processes and discipline-based trajectories
•  Issues around language and indigenous knowledge

e. Professional development

•  There are many different approaches to professional development, and a variety has been used by the various projects and within projects.

f. Environmental factors

In this sector, the study explored how projects could respond to environmental factors such as HIV/AIDS, environmental degradation and poverty. Project and host government department staff responses mostly focused on HIV/AIDS and its impacts.

The report concludes by recommending twelve areas for future involvement, based on discussions with all four of the projects. Emerging areas of interest that might warrant further investigation in existing or future projects are:

  1. Scaling up models and lessons learned from engaging in piloting processes
  2. Continued support for professional development processes
  3. Informing approaches to capacity development
  4. Responding to the 'Decade for Education for Sustainable Development'
  5. Testing and contributing innovative approaches to inform strategic planning around dealing with HIV/AIDS and its impacts on education systems
  6. Working with whole school development
  7. Explicit engagement with assessment and exams
  8. Working with learning support materials
  9. Engaging with IT
  10. Engaging with indigenous knowledge
  11. Working with mother tongue
  12. Encouraging increased communication and sharing between environmental education initiatives.

[link to the paper for more details]


SADC Regional Environmental Education Programme