A critical review of postgraduate environmental education research from selected South African universities, 1995-2004.
This study focuses on reviewing Environmental Education (EE) research that has been conducted by M. Ed and PhD postgraduates from selected South African universities during the period 1995 to 2004. This period 1995-2004 has been characterized by transformation, restructuring, and change in different educational areas of South Africa. This research is premised on the notion that such transformation, restructuring and change may have had an impact on research. The research questions were on the focus, methodologies and, gaps and silences in postgraduate Environmental Education research during the period 1995 to 2004. The study was informed by Homer-Dixon‘s (1994) theory of Resource Capture and Ecological Marginalisation which claims that environmental problems that exist in South Africa today emanated from apartheid and other marginalisation policies. Firstly, the study has argued that knowledge produced through postgraduate research can be useful in addressing these problems if it includes issues in all the environmental dimensions, biophysical, social, economic and political, as understood by O‘Donoghue (1995). Secondly, it further argued that the methodologies that are used to research on these issues can be useful in addressing these problems if they involve the participation of affected people so that they are empowered with appropriate attitudes, skills and knowledge to deal with these. Thirdly, the study argued that unless new knowledge is produced that will address issues of marginalisation as were created by the past, environmental problems experienced in South Africa will persist. Because of its reliance on documents as the source of data, I describe the design of this study as unobtrusive documentary small scale study. Masters and PhD theses and dissertations that were produced at the University of Johannesburg and Rhodes University during the period 1995-2004 were reviewed, using both quantitative and qualitative approaches. The study identified some gaps in the reviewed postgraduate Environmental Education research. For example, more focus on schooling issues resulted in the overlooking of problems that emanated from marginalisation in the contexts where the sampled institutions are located. Little was done to empower people with skills and knowledge that would be useful in addressing environmental problems. Keywords: Environmental Education research, Education for Sustainable Development, marginalisation, Transformation,