The effectiveness of an environmental management system in selected South African primary schools
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Environmental management systems were designed to be used by industrial organisations. However, in recent years, some educational institutions have implemented environmental management systems in appropriate administrative frameworks. The existing literature does not adequately address environmental management systems as tools for harmonising the environmental, social and economic realms of education for sustainable development at primary schools. The aim of this paper is to report on research into the effectiveness of environmental management systems in education for sustainable development at 60 primary schools in four provinces of the Republic of South Africa over a period of two years. A baseline survey and post-baseline surveys assessed the integration of water-, waste-, energy- and garden-related characteristics into extra-curricular activities and into the strategic visions of schools implementing environmental management systems. The data were evaluated using Cohen’s effect sizes and Spearman’s correlation coefficients. The results show that an environmental management system is helpful in education for sustainable development because changes in group knowledge, skills and actions that are required to address environmental features were observed. Environmental characteristics were integrated into extra-curricular school activities and into the strategic visions of the management of the schools with varying levels of success. Systems that simultaneously considered environmental, social and economic factors seemed to have been more successfully implemented than those focused only on environmental and social considerations.
- Faculty of Education