Evaluation of the achievement of environmental education objectives in Kenya: a case study of secondary schools in Nairobi
The Government of Kenya recognizes the importance of Environmental Education (EE) in environmental management and a multidisciplinary (infused) approach of teaching EE has been introduced in public primary and secondary schools in this country. The Government also allows non-governmental organizations, community based organizations and private sector to implement their environmental education related activities, to all sectors of the society. Students benefit from all those environment related education activities. Hence, the goal of this study is evaluation of the effectiveness of educational activities from all sources in creation of a student population that is aware, knowledgeable, with positive attitudes and skills needed to manage the environment. According to UNESCO (1978) EE is an educational concept, which considers the environment as a scientific and aesthetic resource to be used in a lifelong education process in making people knowledgeable and aware of the environment and its problems as well as their own role in environmental conservation, preservation and management. The Tbilisi Conference (1977) developed the objectives, which forms the basis of EE learning behaviour world over. The Conference backed implementation of EE with a lot of theory and literature but left to individual countries to develop their own educational programmes and activities, reflecting their local, natural, socio-economic and political situations. The countries were also asked to organise their own EE implementation resources and strategies. Kenya has for the last more than four decades been implementing EE in a interdisciplinary approach (infused approach). This study is attempting to evaluate the achievement of EE objectives in Kenya. The study identified Nairobi Province as the area of study because the City's proximity to the Ministry of Education headquarters enables it to benefit from the supervision and advice on the implementation of Government educational directives, plans and activities. Out of the 69 public schools in Nairobi, 9 schools were randomly selected for the study and from each school, 4 form 4 students were randomly selected to participate in the study. This formed the study sample size of 36 students. Primary and secondary data to support the research questions and objectives were collected. A questionnaire was designed to collect data to help measure secondary school students, knowledge and awareness, positive attitudes and skills for the management of the environment. Guiding questions, observations and photographs were used to support the information provided by the students. Initial analysis generated descriptive statistics in form of frequency distributions and means. The statistics were then graphically presented in form of tables and bar charts. The study established that, secondary school students have to a large extent acquired the knowledge, positive attitudes and have some skills for environmental management but have not been involved adequately in environmental management activities outside their school compounds. EE is a practical subject and students learn more by getting involved in the practical side of environmental management. The need for practical side of EE was well captured in the preset questionnaire statements and the student's responses emphasized their love for natural environment, visits to the countryside and participation in school learning trips and outings. The findings of this study will be shared with governmental and non-governmental organizations that deal with Educational planning and implementation to inform and influence their future development of curriculum and teaching and learning materials. The study has also made recommendations on review of educational policy to enable the teaching of EE using multidisciplinary approach (as a subject) and re-training of teachers for effective teaching of EE so as to achieve EE objectives, Vision 2030, the new Constitution and the Millennium Development Goals.