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To what extent does it reflect your understanding of sustainable development? The University of the Western Cape 2030 Vision reads “Through activities and practices, UWC will strive to be an effective partner in the larger national project of building a sustainable and equitable non-racial, non-sexist, democratic, multilingual society where people use their freedom to good effect and honour their responsibility for hard work, social justice and nurturing the environment” This statement extracted from the University of the Western Cape’s 2030 vision explicitly shows the university’s commitment to my understanding of sustainable development. Furthermore, the University has thrice been crowned Africa’s Greenest Campus and shows its commitment to environmental sustainability in education and research through being a longstanding signatory of the Talloires Declaration.
To what extent does it reflect the definition of sustainable development that reads “Sustainable Development is development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”? Do you think this is needed or not?
I think that it is needed since we want to encourage reflective practices and in turn lifelong learning. The university we know is a research -intensive university its research in all disciplines are geared towards identifying community engagement projects which could inform both its research and teaching and learning content. In saying this, the definition of Sustainable development is implied in the activities and practices of the university.
To what extent does your institution’s Vision and Mission statement reflect the objectives of ESD and the GAP?
As a research-intensive university, UWC has a ‘distinctive role in help building an equitable and dynamic society’ through its ‘committed to excellence in teaching, learning and research, to nurturing the cultural diversity of South Africa, and to responding in critical and creative ways to the needs of a society in transition’, as stated in its broad mission statement. This statement is underpinned by the following values which to me reflects not only the objectives of ESD but also speaks to the 5 priority areas identified in the GAP, these values are:
1. We nurture democratic leadership and innovative problem solving.
2. We respect and strive for excellence in teaching and learning and in research. To this end we encourage a reflective culture among all members of the University community, rooted in taking responsibility for excellence.
3. We cultivate a socially responsive, people-centred approach to education that encourages our graduates to engage with the challenges of the day and to make powerful contributions to building an equitable and sustainable society.
How would you reframe/restate your institution’s Vision and Mission statement to more substantively reflect SD and ESD (based on your understandings of these concepts and your context)?
I think that the Vision and Mission statements captures the essence of Sustainable Development but could be reframed in terms of ESD. One could after the statement ‘committed to excellence in teaching, learning and research, to nurturing the cultural diversity of South Africa, and to responding in critical and creative ways to the needs of a society in transition’ add to produce teachers who are committed to education for sustainable development.