Environmental Sustainable Action and Community Development Conference Hosted by UKZNGeneral

Conference participants visit the Mariannhill Landfill Site during the first Environmental Sustainable Action and Community Development Conference, hosted by the School of Education.Conference participants visit the Mariannhill Landfill Site during the first Environmental Sustainable Action and Community Development Conference, hosted by the School of Education.

The Science and Technology Education Cluster within the School of Education hosted an Environmental Sustainable Action and Community Development Conference.

The Conference attracted Science, Mathematics and Technology educators, businessmen and women, academics and students who shared curriculum-related environmentally sustainable issues in a theoretical and practically based approach, while promoting research and civil action to improve and develop Science and Technology programmes/curricular/actions in response to current and future needs.

The interactive Conference addressed various topics such as media literacy empowering citizenship, the Palmiet Nature Reserve and educating for waste management. There was also a drama activity and a field trip to the Mariannhill Landfill Site.

UKZN Lecturers Dr Nadaraj Govender, Dr Ronicka Mudaly and Dr Angela James presented their research on preservice science teachers’ views and reflections of science, Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) and their perspectives on the inclusion of IK holders as teachers in the academy, in the context of teaching environmentally sustainable development practices.

James explained: ‘Pre-service teachers were engaged in a university module that prepared them for transformative pedagogy, to teach the South African school curriculum. The university module included IKS, scientific issues pertaining to IKS, and preparing students to garden, using agricultural sustainable practices.

‘African izinyanga (medicinal knowledge holders) were invited and they shared their knowledge of IKS and skills of agriculture and sustainable development practices during teaching,’ she said.

Their findings indicate that preservice teachers’ views of science, IKS and their relationships are in harmony with the envisaged UKZN IKS policy and Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) policies. The study has implications for further planning of transformative pedagogies in teacher education.

Melissa Mungroo