Proposed Synergies between Indigenous and Modern Systems of Enviromental education in Addressing development planning in Zambia

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Mwanang'ono, Mulambwa
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The study drew inspiration from the need to counteract the ensuing failures of modern systems in addressing development challenges especially at local level despite several efforts by governments to invest resources in poverty reduction and general developmental interventions. The study identified the alienation of indigenous knowledge systems in the mainstream modern systems of environmental education (EE) and development planning as a compounding problem that accounted for development stagnation in the communities. This alienation created the gap in knowledge since modern systems were generally found to be inadequate in addressing developmental issues, particularly at a local level. The lack of local relevance of most modern systems justified the call for integration of indigenous systems. The study focused on the need to establish linkages between the modern and indigenous systems of environmental education and their influence on development planning in Zambia. In so doing, the study proposed an approach to remedy the alienation of indigenous systems in the mainstream processes of EE and development planning by suggesting a synergy between the two systems. The study involved an assessment of some inherent policies, strategies, processes, methodologies and perceptions about EE and development planning. It, therefore, largely dealt with abstract ideas to which the reader is introduced. This point is crucial in appreciating the main orientation of the study. Descriptive research design was applied with qualitative approaches. The respondents were purposively sampled and included government officers and other modern experts, NGOs, and traditional leaders. A comparative analysis of modern systems was further made through a global dimension where the Zambian modern system and that of selected foreign countries, Germany and Montenegro, were reviewed. The study established that the approaches applied in environmental education and general nature conservation were related to the country’s guiding principles which also reflected the overall vision, where it existed. Furthermore, a number of environmental policy instruments were examined and the following were identified as the main instruments: 1. Direct regulation 2. Indirect regulation 3. Self-regulation, and 4. A combination of the above instruments. From the study results, differences in perceptions of and approaches to environmental education were evident at both country level and individual levels. For instance, while in Zambia environmental education was a school subject, in Germany it was not but its ideals were generally incorporated in the teaching of all subjects. In Montenegro, too, there was no school subject called environmental education but the concept had greatly influenced school curriculum such that emphasis was put on environmental content in all the subjects focusing more on human-nature relationships. The study also showed that direct regulation has been prioritised in Zambia compared to self-regulation and this had a bearing on public participation in development decision-making processes which are largely carried out in the planning cycles. Varying perceptions were also identified at individual level in the modern experts interviewed both in Zambia and abroad. However, existing opportunities for synergy formulation at all levels were identified and based on these a synergy was suggested that maximizes positive attributes of both indigenous and modern systems.
Enviromental education--study and teaching--Zambia , Development planning(education)--Zambia