I am Leonard Nkhata the Head Department for Mathematics and Science Education Department, the department responsible for Teacher Education at the Copperbelt University. As a department, we have observed that there is no deliberate policy to teach 21st Century Skills and competences. Further, a significant number of courses outlines/syllabus do not state what 21st Century skills and competences students should have. As a result, we have noted challenges in our undergraduate and graduate students’, particularly in the area of research writing and presentation in their final year(s). Results from a preliminary study reveal that these students lacked skills and competencies to enable them to navigate the challenges of the 21st Century. The student-teachers display inadequate grasp of the skills and processes of collection, analysis, interpretation, inference and evaluation of data. This suggests that these student-teachers would be unable to pass on these skills of critical thinking to their learners to help them address issues of poverty, gender inequality, unemployment and environmental degradation, among others. The department has concluded that there is need for deliberate inclusion in student-teachers’ education sustainability skills and competences. In the department’s current configuration, there is very little emphasis on 21st century skills, competences and sustainability related issues.
The department has agreed to implement as its change project “Teaching for the development and acquisition of 21st Century Skills”. The department arrived at this change project title in order to provide strong leadership for Education for Sustainable Development in teacher education in our institution and affiliate colleges to inspire the next generation of teachers to offer better quality, more relevant education and training in the country.