Heila Lotz Sisitka
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Heila Lotz Sisitka

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Heila Lotz Sisitka Heila Lotz Sisitka Presentation Transcript

  • Heila Lotz-Sisitka, Rhodes University, South Africa IAU Conference, Iquitos, 19-21 March 2014
  •  A short history …  Introduction of Education for Sustainable Development in African universities  Some commitments to the blending of traditional knowledge and HE for SD  Some directions emerging for the future?
  • University history is part of a long term process of ‘structured under- development’ on the African continent - with epistemological, material and practical consequences and effects 13th – 15th century 500 years ago 100 yrs ago (1900) 50 years ago (1960’s) 30 years ago (1980’s) 10 years ago (2000) “From slavery to colonialism, wars, 'oiled' poverty and now uncertainty” Slavery & colonial disruption A ‘handful’ of University Colleges The post- independent university AU strategy for re-vitalising universities Oil crisis, and substantial cuts in HE spending
  • WSSD: 12 years ago (2002) UN DESD 2005: MESA / AFRITEIS (networks) ODA interest in Working with African Universities on SD concerns AAU Annual General Conference on HE and SD - 2009 Only social issues matter SD / ESD makes education context and community relevant SD/ESD is about ‘green economy’: Agricultural revolution SD / ESD is about a low carbon future & new technology SD/ ESD is a neo-liberal invention / appropriation Views of SD emerging in African universities Across all of these areas one finds debates about the potential value of traditional knowledge and the continued dominance of a western scientific knowledge paradigm. At the heart of this are questions on the kind of knowledge production we (ought) to be engaging with in universities to address complex sustainable development problems
  •  A network supported by the UNEP since 2004, with support from AAU and other partners (no substantive external funding)  Multi-disciplinary capacity building  Contribute to the revitalisation of HE in Africa for the 21st century
  •  A’loose’, unfunded network with committed professionals  Professional development of university staff (over 400) via MESA ESD Innovations Programme, various UNEP initiatives and Sida ITPs  Over 100 change projects seeded, with some growing to impressive maturity  Sub-regional networked focal points; particularly active in southern and East Africa with links to UNU RCE programme  3 MESA Chairs in SADC  Some leadership engagement (AAU conference, WESD Conference, AMCEN, ADEA etc.)  Some monitoring (2004 baseline; 2008 MESA review; currently reviewing MESA Change Projects 2014 book production)  Increased student engagement and participation  Provided a model for MESCE and GUPES, but lost some of our own ‘home based’ momentum in the process
  •  Taken for granted constructions of knowledge are being challenged via the focus on sustainability issues  A broader epistemological frame is being introduced in universities  Scholastic reasoning; Practical reasoning  Inter-epistemological dialogues (e.g. IK and Today)  Re-valuing of indigenous knowledge
  • Particularly student-lecturer relations and decision making processes
  • 10  E.g. JKUAT, in collaboration with the Ministry of Energy, has built a bio-gas plant. This recycles sewage waste from the University into bio-gas for energy. This saves on energy and conserves the environment. Findings: In some universities ESD is helping with new forms of technology development
  • The Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), through its Centre for Innovations and Technology Transfer (CITT) has developed biogas technology and installed large-scale biogas plants in institutions such as prisons and schools in Rwanda since the year 2002 to treat sanitation waste for generating biogas for cooking and protect the environment.  Through its training programme involving over 500 people, CITT have started the development of private biogas companies in Rwanda 200 m3 Biogas plants under construction / ongoing training in Gicumbi District
  • Combining understandings of new challenges in societal contexts (e.g. deforestation and climate change) with new science knowledge and concepts (e.g. ecosystem services approaches) and traditional knowledge and experience
  • AAU Engagement with ESD and sustainability – raising awareness amongst university leaders African Association for the Development of Education in Africa – raising awareness amongst education partners Sub-regional university organisations and associations (e.g. SARUA) – can help to strengthen sub-regional co-operative initiatives University leadership and structures that support change and innovation in universities
  • “A cross-cutting knowledge and research gap highlighted [across 12 countries] was the lack of valuing, studying and understanding local and indigenous knowledge” … “Such research must be undertaken within a knowledge co-production approach. This requires bringing different contributions together in relation to each other in the knowledge production process.”
  • “African indigenous heritage has seldom been represented in formal education and community development processes, primarily due to colonial exclusion, marginalisation and subjugation. Against this background it is important to document and work with indigenous heritage practices AND continuing social innovation in response to the rapid changes of the last 200 years and with the anticipated climate change of the 21st century” (Shava, 2013
  • The Association for the Development of Education in Africa says: “… a revolution in teaching and learning is needed [for HE to address SD challenges] in the sense that teachers need to develop their approach to the curriculum in cooperation with, and with the involvement of the stakeholders, in order to provide access to the knowledge and skills that ensure inclusion and integration into everyday life, including as citizens and in the workplace”. (ADEA 2012).
  • Is there a pattern emerging at wider systemic level?
  •  Relational – between different forms of knowledge and between society, economy and environmental objectives  Dialectic and change oriented – between tradition and new forms of innovation needed for a sustainable and socially just life  Political and ethical – recognition and validation of what has been marginalised, and what is in the interest of ‘the common good’  Inter- and transdisciplinary - the single discipline is not adequate on its own and new methodologies of teaching and research are needed  Transformative – learning must linked contemporary concerns, be transformative and contribute to social changes