Academic journal article Journal of Education and Learning

Curriculum Issues: Teaching and Learning for Sustainable Development in Developing Countries: Zimbabwe Case Study

Academic journal article Journal of Education and Learning

Curriculum Issues: Teaching and Learning for Sustainable Development in Developing Countries: Zimbabwe Case Study

Article excerpt


The study sought to investigate curriculum issues, teaching and learning for sustainable development in secondary schools in Zimbabwe. Education for sustainable development (ESD) aims at changing the approach to education by integrating principles, values, practices and needs in all forms of learning. Literature has documented the importance of problem solving, ecologically relevant education, project based and interactive education as the basis for sustainable development. Emphasis has also been placed upon the pedagogical and curriculum issues in support of sustainable teaching and learning in developing countries. The methodology employed included literature search, documentary analysis, questionnaires, interviews and observation. The study was based on two urban and two rural secondary schools. The results revealed that some schools followed a seriously integrated curriculum where academic work was integrated with industry based education or learning, while others followed a purely academic curriculum. Results showed that pursuing an academic curriculum led to relevant careers though unemployment was high due to the lack of skills. The high rate of employment of those pursuing integrated curriculum appeared to be a motivator. The study concluded that an integrated curriculum and education was more beneficial for sustainable development and entrepreneurship. Further research is required on the curriculum and strategies for education/industry integration for sustainable development and challenges schools face in trying to implement ESD.

Keywords: sustainable, curriculum, integrated, development, pedagogical, learning, teaching, education, ecological, school types, employment, problem solving

1. Introduction

According to Wong (2003) sustainable development is regarded by many as an essential direction for the whole world to move towards., However, he noted that educating for sustainability was not easy hence all practitioners should make concerted effort to contribute towards its success. Coping with changes in society and the demands for multi-disciplinary delivery of education was not easy either. An integral and practice-oriented approach of the subject area was vital for the success of education for sustainable development. The success would however, depend on leadership empowerment as a tool bringing about change at institutional level. There is therefore, growing pressure on schools to teach learners for sustainable development in developing as well as developed countries (UNESCO, 2005). There is an increasing outcry over the irrelevance of the education given to the children today. Employers on their part have expressed dissatisfaction over the lack of basic skills and work ethics among many school leavers. This has led them to label the education currently provided by the education system as irrelevant. School leavers are unemployable. If employed they become an unbearable cost due to the fact that they need to be trained or a lot of time is spent showing them how to work. This is a cost on the employers which they are not willing to pay. Generally, employers want what they call "critical thinkers" (UNESCO, 2005). How can schools produce critical thinkers? What is being said in short, is that the education, and in particular the teaching and learning as experienced in our schools and educational institutions cannot sustain development. To answer the question, it is important that a critical look be taken on pedagogy, the curriculum, the learner and the environment. This paper therefore, seeks to describe and analyse teaching and learning for sustainable development in developing countries, with Zimbabwe as an example. Though focus is on the latter, the resulting information will equally apply to developed countries as well.

2. Literature Review

2.1 Pedagogy

This refers to the way the curriculum is taught and all the methodological aspects of learning and teaching. It is argued that work related learning is sustainable because of its symbiotic link with the environment. …

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