Welcome to Module 1. Economic growth is driven by the need to maximize scarce resources. While it is very easy to pursue economic growth without thinking about its impact on the environment, our current reality is that climate change is a global concern. Taking into consideration the importance of the environment as a depletable resource informs the need to understand sustainability and integrating this into the school curriculum is very urgent. This is the aim of this module. As a starting point it engages with two exemplars, Economic and Management Sciences (EMS) (Grades 7-9) and Business Studies (Grades 10-12). These two exemplars present the links to the notion of sustainability. The module provides an analytical framework for integrating the notions of sustainability, green economy and green entrepreneurship into these curricula. The core text identifies eight core pillars of how this could be done.
Looking at the CAPS: Environment and sustainability within CAPS
The CAPS curriculum is based on a set of important principles. These inform all teaching and learning in the CAPS, and have informed the design and development of all CAPS subjects. These principles are:
Education for Sustainable Development foregrounds the integration of environment, society and economies for a better life and future for all. Internationally ESD is influencing curriculum development at all levels and phases of the education system, and in South Africa, we can see the influence of new thinking about environment, society and economy in the CAPS curriculum.
When we think about environment and sustainability in the subjects, we should try to bring out the curriculum principles and expand on these through thinking about the pillars of ESD as content and processes related to the principles of the curriculum. Diagram 1 below suggests that we start by looking at the topics that are contained in the CAPS curriculum, and then think about them through the ‘lenses’ of the curriculum principles, and relate them to the three pillars of ESD. This can help to develop a coherent way of understanding the environmental and sustainability oriented learning content contained in the different subjects from a national curriculum perspective.