What are the objectives of Project SUSTAIN?
There are two main objectives to the project. First, it encourages joint research on various aspects relating to how more students can gain access into Science and Technology Education. Second, it seeks to explore new ways of making Science and Technology Education more relevant and responsible to students with various backgrounds and interests.
The project builds on the notion that Science and Technology Education needs to be transformed in order to secure sustainable development and meet the needs of our global and local society. It also builds on the notion that the education of teachers and teacher educators is crucial.
The project will work towards broadening access into a more socially responsible Science and Technology Education though joint research and capacity building of science and technology educators at both PhD and Master’s level. By the end of the project period, i.e. 2011, each participating institution in the South will have established innovative Master’s and PhD programmes that nurture educators to teach science and technology within a critical and socially responsible framework.
What is a socially responsible Science and Technology Education?
The African Forum for Children’s Literacy in Science and Technology (AFCLIST) has worked towards a socially responsible science and technology education in Africa. The ideas on socially responsible Science and Technology Education are drawn from the work of Kyle (2003). The project is oriented towards students becoming socially responsible citizens.
Traditionally, Science and Technology Education has been situated within a positivist framework both developed and developing countries. The aim of Science and Technology Education has been to teach about the natural world as it is, without encouraging students to use their knowledge to change the world to become more sustainable. Through this program educators will empower learners with the knowledge needed to be active an conscientious citizens.
A socially responsible Science and Technology Education will be developed to enable students to meet the main challenges facing citizens in the global society today: climate changes, poverty, childhood deaths, HIV and AIDS, lack of clean drinking water etc.
How will Project SUSTAIN work towards a more socially responsible Science and Technology Education?
Project SUSTAIN will encourage joint research between researchers and students in Zambia, Malawi and South Africa on issues that explore how students from different backgrounds can gain access into a more socially responsible Science and Technology Education.
In total, the project will provide grants, supervision and courses to 18 Master’s and 9 PhD candidates who pursue research and or development endeavors relevant to the overall goals of Project SUSTAIN.
What research topics will be the focus of Project SUSTAIN?
The following five topics are seen as representative themes for Project SUSTAIN:
- What is sustainable Science and Technology Education at a philosophical and/or a contextual level?
- How can Science and Technology Education be transformed in order to become more relevant and useful to students when they make decisions about their own lives and a global future?
- How can Science and Technology Education be transformed in order to become relevant and empowering to all pupils regardless of their sex, race and social background?
- What understanding of and attitudes towards Science and Technology as a social and material enterprise and science students socialized into, and how do these presuppositions influence students’ access to and capabilities for decision making and democratic participation?
- In what ways should Science and Technology Education be linked intrinsically to broader societal issues, such as community development, poverty, un-and underemployment, climatic changes, health and nutrition, HIV/AIDS?