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Integrating Environmental Education (EE) for Sustainability into Primary School Curriculum in Tanzania: Exploring Stakeholders’ Views and Perceptions

  • Abstract This study sought to explore the views and perceptions of education stakeholders (i.e. teachers, heads of schools and curriculum specialists) on the integration of environmental education into primary education curricula in Tanzania. The study also sought for stakeholders’ views and perceptions to explain why EE has not been a successful story despite having been integrated in schools for decades. Empirical studies by Kimaryo (2011) and Mtaita (2007) discovered that although EE was included in Tanzanian primary schools since 1960’s and was even stressed in the policy of education in 1990’s; yet, the condition of environment has rather deteriorated. Studies that have been conducted in this field, mainly explained the success or failure of EE implementation basing on teachers and students as key agents, thus capturing a narrow view to explain the phenomenon. As argued by Klitgaard (1973) in the theory of diffusion of innovations in education, success or failure of educational innovations and reforms cannot be a priori attributed to only one part of the educational system. He says educational systems operate in a chain of command where different actors and levels of authorities need to function properly and collaborate with other levels so as to ensure successful implementation of change and reforms in curriculum. For this reason, this study involved the curriculum specialists and heads of schools besides teachers. Moreover, none of the studies has explored how the school theory promotes or hinders the integration of EE into the curriculum. The study attempted to answer the following four questions: Which views and perceptions do teachers have on the environment, environmental changes and challenges? How do teachers perceive EE integration, content adequacy and relevance; And which instructional methods and resources do they use in integrating EE content into their subject curriculum? How do teachers perceive their motivation and professional development on environmental education issues? How do heads of schools and curriculum specialists perceive EE integration, and how do they motivate teachers to successfully integrate EE into their teaching? The study is qualitative in nature, employing research techniques such as interviews and document analysis to answer the inquiry. Data was obtained from five primary schools’ teachers, heads of schools and curriculum specialists with a total of 30 participants taking part in the study. Grounded theory and thematic strategies were employed in data analysis. The findings from teachers revealed that environmental changes and challenges are mainly seen as anthropogenic. The issue of climate change was a concern for a majority of participants. Awareness of the concept of ‘pillars of sustainability’ (i.e. ecology, economy and culture) is generally low and their balance is perceived impossible without addressing the poverty issue. Teachers’ competence and motivation are low due to lack of resources and professional training, large class sizes and work load as well as lack of government priority on environmental issues. Moreover, results revealed that EE goals and principles are incompatible with the traditional role and goals of schooling, and as EE is not a subject in itself, it is marginalized in teaching. Findings from heads of schools and curriculum specialists confirmed most of the findings from teachers, and acknowledged that very little support for teachers to implement EE was provided. In general, results concluded that there was no perspective for effective implementation of EE in the near future, unless there is due priority given from top authorities downwards. The study recommends capacity building of teachers as well as involvement in planning and development for curricula reforms. Government priority on environmental issues is insisted on and urged to set concrete criteria for EE competence assessment in curricula. To ensure environmental sustainability the government should keep striving to fight poverty. Lastly the study proposes a model to improve the implementation of EE in primary schools. The findings of this study hold imperative implications for the government through the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training in Tanzania, curriculum specialists, and heads of schools as well as teachers as they are key players in determining the success or failure of educational innovations and reforms.

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Author:Aurelia Raphael Kimaro
Referee:Marita Kampshoff, Thomas Irion
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Year of Completion:2018
Date of first Publication:2018/10/31
Granting Institution:Pädagogische Hochschule Schwäbisch Gmünd, Fakultät I
Date of final exam:2018/10/24
Release Date:2018/10/31
Tag:Views and Perceptions; education for sustainability; educational stakeholders; environmental education; study
GND Keyword:Umwelterziehung , Studie , Nachhaltigkeit , Curriculum , Integration
Page Number:272
To order the print edition:1041932626
Institutes:Fakultät I
DDC class:300 Sozialwissenschaften / 370 Erziehung, Schul- und Bildungswesen
Licence (German):License LogoVeröffentlichungsvertrag mit Print-on-Demand