The assessment of environmental awareness of the secondary school learners in the Mabopane district
This study aimed at assessing the environmental awareness of the learners in relation to the principles of sustainable development. This will subsequently help in formulating guidelines on how sustainable development can be achieved through Environmental Education and suggesting environmental awareness programmes for the learners. The study provided various definitions of environment, Environmental Education, environmental awareness, environmental literacy and sustainable development. The goals, objectives and principles of both Environmental Education and sustainable development are outlined. The study also discussed what the Constitution and legislations say about Environmental Education and sustainable development. Grade 1 1 learners, (1 52) were chosen from 11 high schools and grade 9 learners (95) were chosen from 9 middle schools in Mabopane District to conduct the study. The aim was to assess the general environmental awareness of the learners across learning areas, to compare those who are doing Grade 9, which is an exit level to Further Education and Training level to Grade 11 learners who are already at the Further Education and Training level. A questionnaire was developed for the learners to fill out in order to achieve the aims of the study. The validity and reliability of the questionnaire were determined. The response of the learners indicated that the level of environmental awareness of the learners in Grade 11 is higher than that of the learners in Grade 9 and the learners could not provide the explanations on sustainable development and Environmental Education. Their attitude towards the environment is positive. However, they lack knowledge regarding environmental problems and are not actively involved in environmental projects or with environmental organisations. The study finally came up with guidelines that can be used to achieve sustainable development through Environmental Education and programmes for Environmental Awareness.