An investigation of the implementation of environmental education in Tanzanian primary schools, 1980-2010

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University of Dar es Salaam
The thesis investigates the historical trend of implementation of environmental education in Tanzanian primary schools from 1980 to 2010. The study objectives were: firstly, to determine the extent of integration of school curricula in terms of adequacy of environmental education content coverage, organization, methods and relevance; secondly, to examine the kind and level of knowledge and skills teachers had gained in relation to mastery of environmental education in schools; thirdly, to assess the level of environmental literacy acquired by pupils; fourthly, to establish the level of interaction between the school and the surrounding community in terms of creation of environmental knowledge, skills and participation; and finally to examine factors that had affected the implementation processes of EE in primary schools. The study adopted a pragmatic paradigm as a philosophical stance as well as a concurrent mixed-methods approach that formed the framework within which the study was conducted. It involved a total sample of 343 constituting head teachers (6); academic masters/mistresses (6); subject teachers (66); pupils (235) and school committee members (30). The data were collected through questionnaires, in-depth interviews, focused group discussions, documentary review and non-participant observation. The main findings point to the fact that EE has been integrated in the primary school curriculum through a multidisciplinary approach. However, over different periods of curriculum change since the 1980s, environmental issues have not been incorporated into school subjects at an equal pace or with equal levels of emphasis. Most of the content was integrated into social studies and science but much less into others such as Mathematics. It was further revealed that, for the most part, the content was inadequate and irrelevant in addressing local environmental problems. Secondly, teachers’ knowledge and skills on EE were just average, having had inadequate pre-service and in-service training on EE, thus making the implementation process at schools very superficial. Thirdly, pupils had acquired inadequate knowledge and skills on EE from the schools for mastering environmental issues. Fourthly, the findings revealed that there was limited interaction between the schools and the surrounding communities in the creation of environmental knowledge, skills as well as for opportunities for collaborative action towards addressing environmental issues. Finally, the implementation of EE at schools was hindered by several factors including, among others, inadequate training among teachers, inadequate teaching methods, an overloaded curriculum and limited EE content in the school curriculum. Generally, there was more rhetoric regarding EE implemented in schools than actual practice. In comparative terms, on the whole, the situation was worse in Kondoa district in Dodoma region than it was in Moshi-rural district in Kilimanjaro region. One of the critical findings of the study was the point that there has been a big gap between schools and their surrounding communities in terms of environmental knowledge sharing and practice. On the basis of the findings, the study recommends a review of the curriculum for balanced inclusion of content relevant to selected key local environmental issues. Finally, it recommends future research on EE in areas that were not covered in this inquiry such as opportunities for integrating IEK into school curriculum; approaches for strengthening school-community collaboration on EE, the status of EE into other school subjects not covered in the study, as well as teacher preparations on EE.
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark (THS EAF GE90.T34N3753)
Environmental education, Primary schools, Tanzania
Ndeskoi, T. T. (2016) An investigation of the implementation of environmental education in Tanzanian primary schools, 1980-2010, Doctoral dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam, Dar es Salaam.