The period 2005-2014 was identified as the Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD. The Decade highlighted education and learning as vehicles through which sustainable agenda could be voiced in the common pursuit of sustainable development. Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) provides better understanding of the complex interdependence between human needs and the natural environment. Higher Education Institutions educate people who develop and manage future society. Therefore the concepts of sustainability need to take centre stage particularly in fashion and textile higher education. Major environmental and ethical concerns are particularly relevant to the fashion industry and its use of energy and resources. Universities educate students with interdisciplinary knowledge; therefore it is important that these institutions become proactively responsive to social and environmental issues in order to improve social concerns. Education is one of the most powerful tools to support humanity in making the right and more responsible choices. Regrettably, most African higher education institutions, fashion design programmes do not integrate sustainable development awareness, which emphasizes constructive education strategies and action plans. This study used qualitative approach to evaluate fashion design curricula in selected Universities in Africa. The findings show that there are traces of sustainable development concepts integrated into support subjects and not in the core subjects of Fashion Design Programme. With inclusion of sustainability issues, students experience the powerful contribution fashion and textile education can make towards creating an eco-fashion world. Students fully engage with the sustainability agenda and begin to find clear paths to new forms of practice.
Anne Mason, Tswane University of Technology, South Africa
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