Background to the Fundisa for Change Partnership
Fundisa for Change is a partnership-based programme founded on principles of collaboration, transformative learning and evaluative review of practice in order to build a national system of engagement to broaden and deepen capacity for environment and sustainability education in South African schools. It is being seen by the Department of Basic Education as an exemplary national professional learning community with capacity to support and influence teacher professional development that is aligned with and supportive of the Subject Contents in the Curriculum and Assesssment Policy for South Africa.
This Protocol Agreement aims to consolidate and formalise membership and participation in this national professional learning community.
The programme started in 2011 out of two key recommendations in the Environmental Sector Skills Plan for South Africa (Department of Environmental Affairs, 2010) and the Biodiversity Human Capital Development Strategy for South Africa (South African National Biodiversity Initiative and The Lewis Foundation, 2010). Both these strategies identified the need for strengthening teachers’ knowledge of new environmental content in the national school curriculum. Both recommended the establishment of and support for a national teacher education network and systems of engagement. Subsequently, DEA and SANBI with initial support from the Lewis Foundation (through the GreenMatter programme), requested Rhodes University’s Environmental Learning Research Centre / Murray and Roberts Chair of Environment and Sustainability Education to lead a small consortium of partners to review past practices, and from this to develop the conceptual framework and start-up materials, with a view to eventually expanding the network of partners (from 2012). Following the pilot phase a national implementation strategy was developed and the Fundisa for Change national teacher education network and professional learning community was established with ongoing support from GreenMatter, DEA, Murray and Roberts and other funding partners. The Fundisa for Change programme involves national teacher education institutions and major national environmental partners who are working together to strengthen transformative environmental learning through teacher education in South Africa.
Multiple Types of Partnerships
There are multiple ways to partner with the Fundisa for Change programme, including as:
- Support partners, such as funders, who do not undertake accredited professional development themselves (including national and provincial government departments, business and industry)
- Implementation partners, who undertake teacher professional development themselves (including higher education institutions, and environmental NGOs).
To guide the collaboration with implementation partners in line with contractual agreements that have been signed on behalf of the Fundisa for Change network, it is necessary to draw up a partnership protocol. All implementation partners who wish to affiliate with the Fundisa for Change programme will be asked to sign a partnership agreement with the national coordinator. Currently this is Rhodes University; in future another university may play the coordinating role, and provincial node coordinators may also come into play.
This Partnership Protocol Agreement commits implementation partners to uphold the principles of collaboration and sharing, transformative learning, quality teacher professional development and striving for best practice. Working within a networked structure, as set up by Fundisa for Change, allows for greater synergy and potentially the national impact required by both national educational policy, and the national human capital development strategies for the environmental sector that led to the establishment of the programme.