A Proposed Sustainability curriculum to Address effects of shifting cultivation on school going children of Kasempa District in Zambia

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Kamocha, Christopher
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Education helps in the development of rational powers of people so that they can fully understand the physical and social environment in a scientific sense. Therefore, for any country to develop, it must invest in the education of its citizens. In order to attain Education for all by 2015, the Zambian Government has been putting up infrastructure in all communities where provision of education is feasible to ensure accessibility to education. In Kasempa District of North-Western Zambia, the regular relocations of families practicing shifting cultivation seemed to affect school going children in the sense that such children did not fully get the benefits of infrastructure put up by the Government. This happened because shifting cultivation created long distances between children's homes and the schools they attended. This made accessibility to school facilities difficult. In this regard, the study was aimed at assessing the effects of shifting cultivation on school going children. Parents in the area of study gave various reasons for practicing this farming method and they acknowledged being aware of the largely negative effects of this practice on their school going children. The research set itself some objectives of determining why the Kaonde people of Kasempa District practiced shifting cultivation; assessing how sustainable shifting cultivation was; investigating the effects of shifting cultivation on school going children; and to propose an environmental education and sustainability curriculum that could be used in order to address the effects of shifting cultivation on school going children. The population under study comprised of the District Inspectors of Schools from the district education office, teachers and pupils from five basic schools and; parents from the villages around these school. The study had a sample size of 105 respondents. The methodology used in this research was descriptive survey. The research was both qualitative and quantitative in design. It was qualitative in that subjective views of Inspectors of schools, teachers, parents and school going children were captured and taken into consideration. These included experiences, views, challenges and opportunities. The research also sought to establish a variety of themes to various responses that were coming out from the interviews. Questionnaires and interviews were employed in this study to different stakeholders as some of the data collection tools. Observations made by school going children and their parents were recorded too. Interviews were conducted with parents practicing shifting cultivation and school going children while questionnaires were administered to teachers and school inspectors from the District Education Board Secretary's office. An inquiry in to the study revealed various findings. Among the various findings, the study revealed that parents and guardians practiced shifting cultivation in their quest for fertile soils since they could not afford artificial fertilizers to boost soil fertility on exhausted land. The findings also revealed that shifting cultivation as a method of agriculture was not sustainable to both the environment and education. Various effects of shifting cultivation were cited but disturbance of children's education was the most prominent problem they cited in connection with shifting cultivation. In view of these findings, various recommendations were made, amongst which was the need to promote environmental education through community sensitization as well as formulation of environmental clubs in schools and communities of Kasempa District. It was also recommended that conservative methods of farming should be introduced on a large scale in the study area.
Enviromental Education - Study and teaching -Zambia , Agricultural conservation(shifting cultivation) - Kasempa - Zambia