An assessment of the need for an explicit environmental ethical component in environmental education in Zambia
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This research is an assessment of the need for an explicit environmental ethical component in environmental education in Zambia. Lack of personal interest in issues concerning the environment, even among the elite and the learned population, has caused considerable concern over the years. The exclusive economic approach of perceiving the environment as no more than a reservoir of wealth has caused considerable environmental degradation. The objectives of the study were: (i) to discuss the current state of environmental education both formal and non-formal in Zambia, (ii) to investigate whether and to what extent there is an explicit ethical component built into the education systems, (iii) to establish to what extent the education system is promoting environmental ethics and (iv) to assess the relevance of explicit environmental ethical theories to environmental education. The significance of the study highlights the need for environmental education and more specifically the need for an awareness of values among Zambian pupils and citizens that will enable them to consider the precarious plight of the environment from an ethical perspective. The study used both qualitative and quantitative approaches which involved an ethical assessment. The methods employed were in-depth interviews, semi-structured and structured questionnaires and non-participant observation. The findings confirmed that in the formal education sector, environmental education was only included in school subjects like geography, environmental science, biology and R.E., and that these subjects do not contain any environmental ethical component. The findings also confirm that in the non-formal education sector, few journalists are being trained in environmental studies. Furthermore, despite the efforts of government programmes and ZEMA, the information on environmental issues reaching the public is very limited, especially in the rural areas, and an awareness of environmental ethical perspectives is non-existent. Recommendations are accordingly made with a view to facilitating the promotion of greater ethical responsibility towards the environment. It is hoped that the study will cause government to intensify environmental awareness programmes aimed at making citizens more aware of the need to exercise greater personal, communal and national responsibility towards the environment.