An evaluation of the implementation of environmental education integrated curriculum in primary teacher training colleges in Kenya
Kinyua, Anne K
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Environmental problems have tremendously increased at the global, regional and local levels during the last few decades. Issues related to environmental problems have become a major concern of the international community particularly for educational policy makers and curriculum developers. Several measures and strategies have been considered to intervene. Among these is the use of school curriculum to create public awareness on the need for environmental preservation and protection. With the introduction of the 8-4-4 system of education in 1985, environmental education (EE) was integrated at all levels of education system. This included the teacher training colleges where environmental topics were integrated into the disciplines of Science, Geography, History and Civic (GHC), Agriculture and Home Science. The purpose of this study was to analyze the syllabus content in order to evaluate the degree of integration of environmental education into the disciplines of Science, Agriculture, Home Science and GHC in primary teacher training programmes. The study also analyzed the techniques used by tutors in teaching environmental education. It examined the resources used by tutors in teaching environmental related topics in the stated disciplines, and finally the study investigated problems encountered in implementing the integrated approach of teaching environmental education in the four disciplines. In the process, both the tutors and student-trainees were asked to make suggestions for improving the learning and teaching of environmental education. The study was conducted in 12 out of 27 primary teacher- training colleges in Kenya. The study drew samples from five provinces out of eight which have primary teacher training colleges. The colleges selected were both government maintained and missionary run. This arrangement provided some basis for comparison. The tutors of Science, Agriculture, Home Science and Geography, History and Civics (GHC) formed the backbone of the study population. Data were obtained by means of questionnaire, interview guides and observation schedules. The quantitative data were analyzed in order to derive descriptive statistics, and for qualitative data obtained from the interview guides, transcriptions were used to generate meanings and to come out with generalizations. The major findings revealed that although most teachers were generally of sound academic and professional qualifications, they did not have a clear understanding of the concept of integration in relation to the teaching of integrated Environmental Education (EE) in the disciplines of Science, GHC, Home science and Agriculture. The four syllabuses had environmental related topics and a multidisciplinary approach was used in incorporating topics of environmental education in the teacher training education programme. However, the syllabuses did not guide the tutors on methodology and resources. The study also revealed that there were no tutor guides in the four disciplines. The main finding concerning the tutor training/orientation revealed that majority of the tutors were neither trained in environmental education nor were they in-serviced/orientated In Environmental Education methodologies. Further findings revealed that the multidisciplinary approach for teaching environmental education has limitation of duplication and fragmentation of content. It was found that there were very few objectives related to EE which meant that the subject did not draw a lot of attention from both tutors and students. The findings on methodologies showed that techniques selected by tutors as the least effective for teaching environmental education were the most frequently used by the same tutors. The tutors observed teaching EE topics in their respective disciplines were found to favor the lecture, question and answer and occasionally discussion techniques of instruction. These techniques are known to be least effective in Changing attitudes and acquisition of skills to meet the goals of EE. On the availabjlity of resources, it was found that a number of college-based resources such as Chalkboard, posters, radios, videos, charts were available but the most essential resource - textbook for Environmental Education - was lacking. The tutors did not use the local environment and this was attributed to lack of finance, time due to congested curriculum and regrettably the lack of awareness. The major constraint experienced by tutors while teaching environmental education were lack of funds, lack of teaching resources, lack of pre-service/in-service training of tutors, large class size and time allocated to each environmental education topics. In order to promote a realistic and holistic awareness of the environment, professionally trained tutors should be involved in the training when the tutors are well trained in environmental education an enormous multiplier effect in spreading the impact of environmental education at primary level could be achieved. It is recommended that for environmental education to be taken more seriously by tutors, student-trainees and the college administration, it should be offered as an independent discipline in the teacher training programme.