The Third Annual Conference on Environmental and Sustainability Education organized by the Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology (EGST) and Hossana College of Teacher Education conducted in Hossana from June 3-4, 2019.
A total of 22 delegates comprising 17 deans and instructors from eight colleges, three staff of EGST and Hadiya Zone government offices of Environmental Protection and Education besides three journalists participated in the conference.
Opening the annual conference, Ato Habtamu Tarekegn, Vice Administrator of Hadiya Zone and Head of Hadiya Zone Education Office expressed the commitment of government for the improvement of teacher education and appreciated the contribution of the conference for enhancing teacher’s professional development. Ato Hailu Getachew, Team Leader of Hadiya Zone Environmental Protection Office remarked that at a time when biodiversity loss and environmental pollution is a challenge for Ethiopia the conference is expected to contribute its share by bringing professional inputs. He further stated the commitment and support of his office for environmental and sustainability education and emphasized the roles of teachers and students as key stakeholders in improving environmental protection.
Ato Befkedau G/Hanna, Dean of Hossana College of Teacher Education welcomed the participants by emphasizing the importance of knowledge sharing in such a conference and called on all stakeholders to actively contribute for improving environmental and sustainability skills and practices.
Professor Aklilu Dalelo, Co-Programme Leader of Development Studies Programme at EGST explained the background of the conference, its current status and future direction.
Progress reports were presented and discussed from Colleges of Teacher Education drawn from Hawassa, Arbaminch, Bonga, Hossana and Dilla while three Theological Colleges from Hossana Kale Heywet Ministerial Training College, Hossana Theological College of Mekane Yesus and Tabore Theological College of Mekane Yesus from Hawassa presented their experiences in environmental and sustainability education.
The facilitator of the network of Colleges of Teacher Education in Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Regional State (SNNPRS), Ato Anteneh Gebremediahin discussed the achievements and challenges of the CTE network while Ato Abraham Tulla from the network of Theological Seminaries in the region presented their experiences and reports.
Research project status report on Reorienting Education and Training System to Improve the Lives of Indigenous Youth: Stakeholders Perception on Quality Education and Desired Outcomes: A Case of Pastoralist Community in Hammer Woreda, South Omo Zone, Ethiopia was also presented by Ato Anteneh Gebremariam, Principal Investigator of the research. This was followed by discussions and other colleges were similarly encouraged to get engaged in such research activities.
A new project initiative on Research and Professional Development Programme (PDP) for Influencing Sustainability Policies and Practices in Ethiopia through Collaborative Efforts of Public and Religious Educational Institutions was presented by Professor Aklilu Dalelo and Ato Addise Amado. After discussing on the initiative’s philosophical background, conceptual framework and activities, the project was commended for further consolidation and follow up by EGST.
The next fourth annual conference host is nominated to be Arbaminch College of Teacher Education, with Dilla CTE as second standby organizer.
The Ethiopian example, encompassing both Colleges of Teacher Education (CTEs) and Theological Seminaries (TSs) was previously recognized for carving out contrasts and commonalities of different teacher education approaches represented in different parts of the world. “The engagement of theological institutions in this process is something we did not expected but a generous gift to us to enrich the debate” Professor Charles Hopkins, UNESCO Chair from York University remarked in 2017.
At the back of this achievement is the establishment of Center for Environmental Stewardship and Holistic Development, CESHoD at EGST where the partnership with Leuphana University Luneburg played a catalyst role. Through this partnership eight colleges were engaged in Environmental and Sustainability Education in Ethiopia with two regional networks operating in SNNPRS, one for Colleges of Teacher Education (CTE) and the other for Theological Seminaries (TS).
EGST currently partners with Leuphana University on Environmental and Sustainability Education initiatives and York University on Reorienting Teachers Education.
[Source: EGST PRC, June 6, 2019, Addis Ababa]