This also ties in with Sappi Southern Africa’s focus on its nine prioritised 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, one of these being SDG 1: Quality Education.
“We believe that by equipping more of our teachers with the necessary skills to inform, educate and inspire their learners about the environment; that these youngsters will in turn become personally invested in taking responsibility in practical ways to rehabilitate and protect their own environment; starting at their schools but extending into their communities,” says Mpho Lethoko, Head of Corporate Affairs for Sappi Southern Africa.
Sappi recently sponsored a workshop for Grade 6 primary school natural sciences educators from nine schools from the area surrounding the Sappi Saiccor Mill in Umkomaas. The topic of the hands-on training session was ‘East Coast Rocky Shores’ and the teachers got to explore the many rock pools and got to understand the multiple ecosystems in the area. The teachers appreciated the interactive and fun learning method presented by ECOStudy and were enthusiastic about returning to their schools and passing on their newly-acquired knowledge to their learners.
ECOStudy is an environmental education programme designed to improve the teaching of important environmental and sustainable development messages in the classroom and is implemented under the auspices of the Wilderness Foundation Africa. Although South Africa’s curriculum integrates environmental education across all subjects and grades, teaching it is often a challenge for educators, as there is very little guidance for teachers on how to include environmental learning in the classroom. These innovative teacher training workshops help to build the foundations for natural sciences educators to deliver meaningful education to their students. The workshop consists of a theory session followed by a practical session. Based on the success of this venture, Sappi will be looking at sponsoring more of these workshops in its neighbouring communities in the future.
Schools from the area that attended were: Magabheni Primary School, Danganya Primary School, Sheshisa Primary School, Umkomaas Primary School, Naidoo Memorial Primary School, Naidooville Primary School, Ophapheni Primary School, Scottburgh Primary School and Dlambula Primary School.