A proposed localized geography curriculum which engages upper basic school pupils in issues of environmental protection of the Luangwa district of Zambia

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Lungu, Thomson H
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A proposed Localized Geography Curriculum which engages Upper Basic School Pupils in Issues of Environment Protection of Luangwa district of Zambia is meant to assist in reducing environmental degradation. Luangwa district has been experiencing serious environmental degradation arising from a range of factors such as HIV/AIDS, suicide cases, Human - animal conflicts and deforestation. Despite having a handful of basic schools offering Geography, it seemed the teaching of Geography was not making any impact in addressing these environmental issues. Therefore, this study was carried out to try and extend the frontiers of knowledge on how best the Geography curriculum would be redesigned to make it more responsive to the local environmental issues of Luangwa district. Four basic schools and forty (40) grade 9 pupils respectively were selected randomly after sectioning the study area into two zones (i.e. A and B), 14 teachers were selected at random and 35 Grade 9 drop outs were selected from 5 wards at random. The instruments used in data collection included structured and semi-structured questionnaires for teachers and grade 9 dropouts; a learning activity questionnaire for pupils and an interview schedule for key education officers from various departments in the study area. The study was done in two phases which were feeding into each other. In phase one, data was collected from teachers,Grade 9 pupils and dropouts. After analyzing the data, the respondents supported the idea of redesigning the then existing Geography curriculum for Grade 8 and 9. In phase two, the interview schedule was administered to 11 key education officers which included teachers,Head of Departments, Head teachers and key informants from the different departments of Luangwa district. The data generated was then used to redesign the localized Geography Curriculum of Luangwa district. The redesigned curriculum was intended to engage pupils in issues of environmental protection of the study area. The data collected in phase one and two provided both quantitative and qualitative information. The excel window was used to analyze data. Some of the data from phase one is presented in form of tables, pie charts, percentages, and graphs. The data was used to address the following objectives.a)To find out whether or not the Geography at Grades 8 and 9 level contributed to pupils gaining some awareness of their local environmental problems.b)To investigate views of local Grade 9 learners and school dropouts concerning their participation in preservation and conserving the local environment.c)To find out from various key stakeholders of school Geography in Luangwa district about their views, opinions and attitudes towards redesigning the then existing Geography curriculum to address issues of environmental degradation of the district.The main findings of the study reveal that there was very little contribution that the Geography curriculum at Grades 8 and 9 made to pupils' awareness of the environmental problems that affected the people in the area. The major contributing factor to the failure of the then existing Geography curriculum was that it did not cover local issues, as the teaching was concentrated on examinable topics which were mainly taught from global and national orientations. The study also revealed that the Geography curriculum at the time of the study lacked the practical aspect which the subject is supposed to inculcate into pupils. The teaching of Geography was more examination- oriented. The study also observed that both Grade 9 pupils and school dropouts contributed very little to the conservation and protection of their local environments. The other finding involved the high poverty levels in the study area which led to the degradation of the environment, as well as the value system of the local community which resisted change partly due to low levels of education. Cultural aspects of the study area did not have characteristic features of respecting the environment. The other findings of the study was that all stakeholders of school Geography strongly supported the idea of redesigning the basic school geography curriculum. Therefore, chapter six of this study formulated a proposed district localized Geography Curriculum responsive to environmental issues of the area. This chapter presents the thrust of this dissertation by suggesting an innovative curriculum derived from local community members of Luangwa district, with the ultimate aim of engaging Upper Basic Education pupils actively in issues of environmental sustainability of the Luangwa district. Chapter seven provides recommendations which would be of value for the implementation of the proposed Geography curriculum and the enhancement of a sustainable society in the Luangwa district of Zambia.
Geography -- Study and teaching -- Zambia , Environmental protection , Curriculum planning -- Zambia , Local geography -- Zambia