Education for Sustainability and South Africa’s CAPS Curriculum

Welcome back to our educational haven where we strive to make your journey through South Africa’s educational landscape smoother and more meaningful. Today, let’s dive into a crucial topic that’s not just a curriculum point, but a life lesson—Education for Sustainability (EfS).

This blog aims to dissect this potent concept, placing it in the South African context, particularly with respect to the Department of Basic Education’s Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS).

What is Education for Sustainability (EfS)?

EfS is a groundbreaking educational approach designed to furnish our children, schools, and communities with the values and motivations needed to advocate for sustainability. In essence, it’s about moulding our children into architects of a sustainable future. Just as architects consider the structural integrity of a building, EfS ensures that the future we’re constructing is robust, equitable, and environmentally sound.

EfS and CAPS: The Confluence of Two Powerhouses

The CAPS curriculum is no stranger to the concept of sustainability. Integrated across subjects like Life Sciences, Geography, and even Life Orientation, the principles of EfS are intricately woven into the curriculum guidelines. Here’s how:

Transformation and Change

CAPS fosters skills such as critical thinking and problem-solving, thereby equipping learners with the ability to plan and manage transformation towards sustainability. This aligns perfectly with EfS’s principle of “Transformation and change,” advocating for sustainable changes within communities.

Education for All and Lifelong Learning

CAPS is a curriculum designed for all, emphasising inclusive education and lifelong learning. This complements EfS’s principle that education must be accessible for everyone, irrespective of age or background.

Systems Thinking

The interconnected nature of social, economic, and political spheres is a key feature of the CAPS curriculum, especially in subjects like Geography and Social Sciences. This dovetails with the EfS focus on understanding these relationships and how they impact environmental sustainability.

The Urgency of Digital Literacy

Let’s not forget the relentless tide of digitisation sweeping the globe. Coding, artificial intelligence, and robotics are not mere buzzwords but are indeed the scaffolding upon which the future stands. As we look towards educating for sustainability, integrating these competencies into our CAPS curriculum is nothing short of imperative.

A Community-Driven Approach

EfS is not just a school-bound subject but rather a community-wide responsibility. Parents, teachers, and local organisations must work in synergy to steer our society towards a sustainable future. CAPS also recognises the role of community involvement in learning, resonating with EfS’s principle of “Participation” and “Partnerships for change.”

Taking the Next Step

Now, what can you do about it? As teachers, take this as a call to enhance your lesson plans by embedding sustainability at their core. Parents, advocate for sustainability both at home and within your child’s school community.

Remember, education is the most potent weapon for change. Let’s use it wisely to carve out a sustainable, equitable, and prosperous future for our children.

In Conclusion

EfS is not a fleeting trend; it’s a necessity, as integral to our curriculum as the alphabet is to language. By embracing EfS within the CAPS framework, we are not just following curriculum guidelines, but setting our students on a path towards becoming responsible custodians of the Earth. In a country as rich and diverse as South Africa, the stakes are high but so are the rewards. Let’s take up the mantle of sustainability and march forward together, shall we?