Key issues and challenges in integrating environmental education into the school curriculum : primary school educators' views in Mafikeng District in North West Province
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The purpose of this study was to determine the views of educators regarding integration of environmental education into the school curriculum in the Mafikeng District of the North-West Province. The survey population was drawn from the Mafikeng District of the North West Province. The respondents for this study were drawn from the six education circuits in the Mafikeng District. There are 1 02 primary schools in the Mafikeng District. Out of I 02 primary schools, fifty-two (n =52) were randomly selected. In each circuit, fifty percent (50%) of the primary schools were randomly selected to participate in the · study. In each school, six educators were also randomly selected to participate in the study. A total number of participants for this study was 312 (n = 312). A questionnaire was the primary tool used for collecting data for this study. Both open and closed-ended questions were used. The aim of the questionnaire was to obtain information on issues and challenges facing educators in integrating environmental education into the outcomes-based education curriculum. The questionnaire was administered to 312 (n = 312) educators. Out of the total sample, 219 (70%) respondents returned usable questionnaires. For data analysis, content analysis method was employed. Frequencies, percentages and tables were also used in the analysis of data. The findings revealed that respondents were aware of the importance of incorporating environmental learning into school curriculum. However some of them stated that integration of environmental education should only happen in certain learning areas such as Human and Social Sciences and Natural Sciences where environmental aspects are self-evident and obvious. The study also revealed that some educators struggle to integrate environmental education into their learning areas because they still encounter problems in implementing the present curriculum, that is Outcomes-Based Education (OBE). Furthermore, it was revealed that the challenges facing integration of environmental education into the school curriculum included lack of both physical and human resources and lack of knowledge and understanding of environmental education. It was concluded that the success of integration of environmental education into the school curriculum would depend on a number factors. The most pressing one was better access to resources, especially learning support materials and more in-service training for more knowledge and information about environmental education. Furthermore, putting in place school-based support services to conduct workshops regularly, will enhance the integration processs of environmental education into the school curriculum as this will minimise the gap between in-service training and long waited periods for follow-ups, are recommended.
- Humanities