My remote thesis-internship experience – on Education for Sustainable Development in Ghana

Hello, my name is Sophia!

I recently graduated from Maastricht University with a degree in Economics and Strategies in Emerging Markets. During the last semester of my Master’s program, I had the opportunity to do a Thesis Internship Program (TIP) with SITE4Society. My thesis was dedicated to the Green Academy Project (GAP) in Ghana, and I explored how teacher education can be imparted to fulfil the UNESCO vision of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).

The Green Academy Project is taking place in Accra with support from the Waste Recovery Platform of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Ghana and in collaboration with the Ghana Education Service (GES) and the local NGO Environment360 (E360).  The project trains teachers and education professionals to address the issue of waste management with their students in a practical, innovative, and fun way. In this way, schools are to become engines of a circular economy.

I contributed by following the teachers’ process weekly via WhatsApp and conducting interviews as part of my thesis. I experienced the Ghanaian teachers as very open-minded and enthusiastic about the project and the behavioural change it entailed. However, it also made me aware of the challenges they face in their daily work, such as lack of electricity, adequate infrastructure and resources for teaching, aside from large class sizes.

The remote work additionally highlighted the missing access to sufficient internet in Accra. The interviews were conducted via Zoom and alternatively via WhatsApp. To illustrate this for example as heavy rain set in one day in the greater Accra region the connection during the interview broke. Subsequently, all other interviews for this day also could not be held, as the rainfall affected the internet connection of the entire region. Despite these challenges faced, the teachers managed to pick me up and to take me on a journey to their life and work in Accra.

At the end of my Thesis Internship Program, I created this short video, which outlines the meaning and importance of Education for Sustainable Development and how the Green Academy Project can contribute to it.

 

 

I would like to thank the Ghanaian teachers for these insights. Also, I would like to express my deepest appreciation to my supervisor, Prof. Shyama Ramani, and to Maria Tomai, for introducing me to the field of Innovation and Entrepreneurship for Sustainability transition, putting their help at my disposal, and for enabling me the assistance at the Green Academy Project.

It was my desire to write a thesis that addresses a relevant topic and adds value. I am glad that I was able to contribute to the Green Academy Project. SITE4Society made this experience possible for me, which I am very grateful for.