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The role played by environmental education in the secondary school geography syllabus in a future South Africa.

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The primary aim of this study is to attempt to examine the role to be played by Environmental Education (E.E.) in the secondary school Geography syllabus in a future South Africa. At the present time and since the commencement of this study new interim syllabi have been formulated for Standard 2-7. Interim syllabi for Standards 8 - 10 have not been formulated and a decision has been made by the National Department of Education to continue using the existing syllabi until the year 2001 when the existing matriculation examination will fall away. It is the intention of the educational authorities to have all interim syllabi operational in the country's schools by 1996 at the latest with the first unified provincial education department examinations for Standard 10 to be written at the end of 1996. The process of formulating completely new curricula and syllabi for all subjects and standards has already begun. This process will be a lengthy one and could take up to 5 years or more to complete. This study should be seen as a contribution to the deliberations which must inevitably occur before completely new curricula and syllabi are formulated. The qualitative nature of most of the study as well as the empirical study described in Chapter Eight allow for ideas and suggestions on the incorporation of E.E. in the new syllabus as well as pointers to be made on what should constitute the new syllabus. The ideas and suggestions forwarded have been based on a fairly extensive review of current literature in the field as well as on the author's eighteen years of teaching and lecturing experience and membership of various educational committees involved in syllabus formulation. Besides a review of current literature in the fields of Geographical Education, E.E., Development Education, Sustainability, Education for Sustainable living and Syllabus Formulation, chapters in this study will deal.with the current position of E.E. in South Africa as well as in the education system, the position of E.E. in the current secondary school Geography syllabi in South Africa, the position of E.E. in the current secondary school Geography Syllabi in a selected number of other countries, including a fairly detailed examination of the position in selected African countries. A background scenario is then provided to the formulation of a new secondary school Geography syllabus in South Africa before a series of recommendations are forwarded on what should constitute a new syllabus. Empirical studies on the incorporation of E.E. into the Geography syllabus are examined to provide support for the contention of this study that much scope remains for the inclusion of more E.E. into a new syllabus. Such inclusion would of necessity include elements of the concepts of development education and sustainability. Every attempt needs to be made to transform existing syllabi into something more relevant and meaningful to the pupils of today. Of necessity a process of 'Africanising' of the syllabus would be required as part of the process of syllabus renewal so as to cater more appropriately for the needs of the majority of pupils who will be studying the subject. In addition every attempt must be made to achieve a phase three status for the new Syllabus as advocated by Graves (1981). This study is presented as a contribution to education and more specifically to Geography teaching in South Africa. Every effort is made to provide a case for the study of Geography in the new curriculum which will emerge and to have E.E. as a central focus in the study of the subject. The Government's proposal to introduce an outcomes/competencies based curriculum and to shift emphasis away from the subject-based curriculum presently in existence will obviously have ramifications for Geography as a subject as we know it at present. It is the contention of this study, however, that a place will have to be found, in some form, for the study of what we now label Geography in the present syllabus. The intention of this study was never to actually formulate a new syllabus as such as this of necessity needs a lengthy process of dialogue and consultation between all interested stake-holders and role players. It is hoped, however, that some of the ideas contained in this study will be considered in the deliberations which take place. Finally, the dramatic political changes which have occurred in South Africa in recent years have inevitably produced changes in the educational sphere. These changes may have appeared to be a bit slow at first but have definitely recently picked up in intensity. This study has been conducted during this period of change, beginning with the start of the study in January 1992 through to the start of the original writing up of the study in January - April 1995. The changing scenarios have definitely not made it easy for the author but every attempt has been made to represent the position as accurately as possible as it was as at the end of April, 1995.


Thesis (Ph.D.)-University of Natal, Durban, 1997.


Environmental education--South Africa., Geography--Study and teaching(Secondary)--South Africa., Theses--Education.