integrating school community concerns in framing ESD and educational quality

Springer International Publishing Switzerland
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Schooling for sustainable development in Africa, 2017, pp. 141 - 152
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This chapter focuses on bridging the educational quality gaps for vulnerable groups when dealing with ESD concerns valued by both teachers and parents. The chapter draws from a qualitative case study that sought to develop teachers’ capabilities and agency to integrate HIV/AIDS education in different subjects across the secondary school curriculum in one secondary school in Zimbabwe. The research site was chosen due to its predisposition as a rich source of data for HIV/AIDS and ESD interactions. Data was gathered from 50 teachers through interactive workshops, interviews, focus groups and open-ended questionnaires. Findings from the study suggest the curriculum could work as a mediating device making connections between the school and its community. The study highlights the role of teachers in mobilising opportunities for learning in diverse classrooms where HIV/AIDS pose unique challenges for particular learners. The study concludes that given the right training and mindsets, teachers become agents of change, and classrooms become therapeutic laboratories where learners’ concerns are valued. Consequently, quality of ESD learning improves as the community of teachers and learners are empowered to live differently. The study recommends reorientation of teacher education to embrace skills for teaching in contexts of risk, vulnerability and uncertainty. Legislators may review and enact policy changes so HIV/AIDS teaching takes a whole-school approach. More so, conceptions of quality education and teacher competency ought to be broadened beyond learner pass rates to include aspects such as creativity and making the world a better place.
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