Education for a changing world

The Delta Environmental Centre has spearheaded various educational interventions over the past 40 years.

The latest, called Fundisa for Change, is a national project that gathers together teaching institutions and environmental organisations to transform the learning process.

Fundisa is a multi-stakeholder network, formed “in response to research findings that the foundations of environmental learning in South Africa needed more attention. Areas that needed focus included teachers’ abilities to teach new environmental knowledge,” says Delta’s executive office, Di Beeton.

Other longer-running projects at the Johannesburg-based centre include EnviroTeach, a teaching resource on CD for educators, published since 1995. Training workshops are also offered to strengthen teaching skills.

Beeton says EnviroTeach has over the years responded to the changing environmental issues and curriculum developments in a South African context.

“Each edition is developed by a unique editorial advisory team that has particular, and specific, content knowledge and skills that are pertinent to the subject matter,” she says.

Delta interacts with learners too, offering environmental education programmes to school groups, from pre-school to grade 12, on a wide variety of topics that are directly related to the national curriculum requirements. It offers environmental workshops to interest groups such as youth clubs or residents’ committees.

“Our motivation is to inspire all citizens to take positive action to improve their environment through using water and electricity wisely, reducing the amount of waste they produce by recycling, re-using and reducing packaging and generally living a low-impact lifestyle,” Beeton says.

Projects are developed and implemented with the full participation of the beneficiaries.

“These beneficiaries can be out of school, unemployed youth, subject advisors and teachers in education departments; municipal employees and managers, learners with special education needs and local residents or home owners committees,” says Beeton.

“We respond to identified needs within communities and engage them in the project development, delivery and evaluation.”