Environmental, Knowledge, attitudes and practices of high school teachers in Zambia: A case study of selected schools of Lusaka city

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Mweembe, Oakinah Mutinta
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Environmcntal education, considered to be a "blueprint for the future'" (Ryan & Ray, 1991, p. 7) emerged in the 1970s in recognition of the rapidly escalating deterioration of the environment. It is now a part of education around the world, as human damage to the environment has become a major international issue (Jacobs & Goatly, 2000). In the Zambian educational system, from the basic to high school levels, pupils arc introduced to environmental issues through a range of learning areas and subjects. The purpose of this study was to investigate the environmental knowledge of high school teachers in Zambia. It sought to find out attitudes of selected high school teachers towards the leaching of environmental education in high schools. In addition, the study was aimed at finding out if there were any practices or environmental education activities at high school level brought about by the teaching of environmental education. The sample for this study comprised 61 teachers and 3 administrators from two high schools in the City of Lusaka. By using a ease study approach a questionnaire survey was undertaken to collect the necessary data. This questionnaire was complemented with interviews of only three heads and observations of school surroundings only. The data collected was mainly qualitative in nature. The main findings revealed that teachers exhibited a high level of basic environmental knowledge and positive attitudes towards the environment. Some of the teachers were also found to be assisting their schools to mount basic environmentally related activities such as clean-up campaigns and tree planting. This was noted as a benefit to environmental education in the country. However, the sampled teachers exhibited lack of knowledge concerning some environmental concepts as they failed to define concepts such as sustainable development and environmental education both of which are fundamental to the field of environmental education. In conclusion, this research showed some correlation between level of implementation of environmental education and knowledge and attitudes of teachers of high schools. By this it meant that the more schools practically implemented environmental education activities within their curriculum, the more knowledgeable they became about the attitudes and practices of environmental education as a field of study. This study, therefore, emphasized the necessity of more in-depth studies of this issue than had been the case before in Zambia.
Teacher education--Zambia