Environmental knowledge and practices of selected Zambian Primary School Teachers of Lusaka District
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It is critical that society be made aware of environmental problems and about the importance of responding to reduce or eliminate those problems. The implementation of environmental management practices represents an important step in the process of limiting negative impacts of environmental degradation in Zambia.A teacher’s knowledge base is important for learners’ understanding of the environment. However, it seems there is a gap between theory and practice of what is taught in schools. Primary school education attempts to cover cross cutting issues such as environment issues, human rights, democracy and citizenship, life skills, education for development and spiritual and moral education. Despite the incorporation of Environmental Education into primary school curriculum in Zambia, little is known on the knowledge and practices of Primary School teachers in Environmental Education as a cross-cutting issue.This study sought to ascertain environmental knowledge and practices of Primary school teachers in Lusaka District. This research employed both qualitative and quantitative approaches, using a descriptive cross sectional design. The empirical data were collected from four randomly selected primary schools in Lusaka District. The study sample consisted of 62 primary school teachers. The data were collected using a structured questionnaire and analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) and Microsoft excel. The results of the study show that less than a quarter of the respondents (33.1%) were very well informed about environmental issues while the majority (62.9%) of the respondents were fairly well informed. It was further observed that most of the respondents (66.1%) had not attended a course in environmental studies and were not involved in any environmental activities. It was also observed that more than 55% of the respondents indicated that environmental behaviours such as double-side photocopying of paper, switching off electricity when not in use and eliminating smoking in public placeswere important in solving environmental problems.Respondents further suggested environmental problems to consider in a localised curriculum, such as population growth, solid waste management, climate change, fertilizer use, water shortages and poor food quality. It was further noted that primary school teachers faced a number of challenges such as lack of teaching/learning materials, lack of support from the school administration and community while others did not perceive themselves as having enough information and skills to teach environmental issues. The study recommends that the Ministry of Education,Science, Vocational Training and Early Education should introduce training programs for in-service teachers in Environmental Education and provide teaching and learning materials for effective teaching and learning in Environmental Education. There is also a need to introduce Environmental Education as a discrete subject at levels of education in order to increase the level of knowledge among teachers and the country at large.
- Education