P008_South Africa

Teaching the Global Goals: Exploring synergies between teacher education programmes and the Sustainable Development Goals

Teach4Reach logo © Irma Eloff

Cooperating countries: South Africa and Austria

Coordinating institution: University of Pretoria (South Africa), Prof. Irma Eloff, 

Partner institutions: University of Innsbruck (Austria), University of Vienna (Austria)

Project duration: 1 April 2021 - 31 March 2023


This research project will explore how teacher education programmes in the Global South and the Global North can be leveraged to support the Sustainable Development Goals by:

  • Raising awareness about the SDGs in teachers and teacher educators
  • Crafting future-focused research agendas on quality education, gender equality, reducing inequality and good health and wellbeing
  • Building international collaborative networks to support the SDGs
  • Supporting scientific knowledge development on the SDGs in the education domain

Currently, only 7% of Teacher education programmes worldwide cover education for sustainable development (Global Education Monitoring Report, 2017/8; Accountability in Education, pp. xvii). This project seeks to expand the curricula on Sustainable development and the Global Goals in teacher education programmes as a strategic initiative to impact on and optimally support Agenda2030.

The project is led by an all women team of researchers from the University of Pretoria, the University of Innsbruck and the University of Vienna; the expert advisor to the project is an academic Head of department at UP. The participants will include teacher educators, pre-service and in-service teachers, postgraduate students and stakeholders from four SDG fields (e.g. SDG3, SDG4, SDG5 and SDG10); PhD students and undergraduate and postgraduate students from three Faculties and schools of Education (UP, Innsbruck, Vienna).

A series of online (and in-person where possible) webinars that are coupled with research colloquia, workshops and knowledge dissemination events on a variety of scientific platforms is planned. Six webinars will be hosted on a rotational basis, over a two year period:

  • Webinar 1: SDG4 Quality Education
  • Webinar 2: SDG5 Gender equality
  • Webinar 3: SDG 10 Reduced inequalities
  • Webinar 4: SDG3 Good health & wellbeing
  • Webinar 5: Lessons learned
  • Webinar 6: The way forward - supporting Agenda 2030

An explorative, qualitative study design using vignette research and in-depth interviews will be used for the research track of the project. The project will also be generative in terms of lesson plan development for the SDGs.


Eloff, I., Mathabathe, K., Agostini, E., Dittrich, A.-K. (2022). Teaching the Global Goals: Exploring the Experiences of Teacher Educators in an Online-Environment through Vignette Research, https://doi.org/10.3390/environsciproc2022015005, Environmental Sciences Proceedings, 15 (1),5, 1-9

Agostini, E., Eloff, I., Mathabathe, K. & Dittrich, A.-K. (2022, January 25) Teach4Reach: How can teacher education programmes in the Global South and the Global North be leveraged to support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? Presentation at the Learning Planet Festival (online) within the panel “Learning communities for sustainable education. Collective agency and ethical responsibility”. France, Paris.

Mathabathe, K., Dittrich, A., Agostini, E., Eloff, I., Modiba, R., Grobler, S., Steinlechner, J.S., Rabotapi, E., Villet, C., Mampane, M., Symeonides, V., Tinnacher, M. (2022). The role of education in sustainability. Presentation at the Sustainability Research and Innovation Conference 2022 (online). Pretoria: Future Africa.

Eloff, I., Agostini, E., Dittrich, A & Mathabathe, K. (accepted). Vignettes of Gender Equality, Wellbeing and Teaching. In: Mayer, C. H., Vanderheiden, E., Braun-Lewensohn, O., Chen, G., Sueda, K., Mangolothi, B., Safdar, S. & Kim, S. (Eds). Women Empowerment for a Sustainable Future World: Transcultural Positive Psychology Perspectives. Springer.