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University of Eastern Finland (UEF) 2015

Implementing education for sustainable development in Namibian schools

Anyolo, Eveline Omagano

Titre : Implementing education for sustainable development in Namibian schools

Auteur : Anyolo, Eveline Omagano

Université de soutenance : University of Eastern Finland (UEF)

Grade : Dissertations in Education, Humanities, and Theology 2015

This study sought to explore the extent to which senior secondary school teachers perceive the concept Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and the teachers’ teaching practices. The study also sought for teachers’ suggestions for improving the implementation of ESD in senior secondary schools. ESD has been viewed as an education that help people develop the attitude, skills and knowledge to make wellinformed decisions for the benefit of the present and the future generations. It aims at providing quality education through shared understanding and multi-disciplinary approaches in meeting the developmental and environmental apprehensions for a sustainable future. Many theorists envisaged ESD as enhancing active involvement of learners both in school and out of school learning initiatives in order to acquire knowledge about sustainable development issues. Operating within an interpretive qualitative research orientation, this study used a case study design to investigate the teachers’ perceptions of ESD and the teachers’ teaching practices in their natural settings. This included various meanings teachers associate with and attach to ESD, their interpretations and feelings towards its integration into the school curriculum as well as the strategies used in implementing ESD. The study employed semi-structured interviews and lesson observations data gathering techniques in collecting data. This study was informed by the development of ESD, from its roots as described in wide literatures. The study tries to promote the implementation of ESD in senior secondary schools in Namibia. Implementing ESD needs a broader understanding of sustainable development aspects and their interrelationship. The relevance of this framework to this study is that it clarifies concepts such as environment, environmental education, sustainable development as well as education for sustainable development which are important in the implementation of ESD. The findings of this study revealed that senior secondary school teachers perceive ESD differently. Most teachers in this study generally understood ESD in terms of knowledge acquisition about the environment and the sustainability use of its resources for the benefit of future generations. The study also revealed that ESD is integrated into the senior secondary school curriculum. In Namibia, ESD is integrated within the existing subjects ; a policy framework supported by many teachers participated in this study. This policy framework establishes the relationship between subjects and suggests a multi-disciplinary approach to ESD. Thus, teachers claimed that each and every subject need to be linked to sustainable development, therefore ESD should be taught in all subjects of the curriculum. However, other teachers suggested that ESD should be offered as an independent subject. They claimed that sustainable development issues need to be dealt with in depth as they affect the social and economic activities which are so significant in the lives of the learners. This policy framework suggests an inter-disciplinary approach to ESD. The study further revealed that although teachers in their rhetoric espoused participatory teaching methods to ESD, teachers mostly employed lecture and question and answer methods in actual teaching. Teachers attributed the use of such methods to a number of barriers faced in implementing ESD. These barriers include, among others, limited time, lack of ESD skills and lack of teaching and learning materials. Due to the afore-mentioned barriers, training for teachers in ESD and the provision of teaching and learning materials were suggested by teachers. The study concludes that, teachers’ perceptions on ESD influences teachers teaching practices. Teachers’ understanding of ESD is limited to the transformation of knowledge about the environment, its associated problems as well as how people should take care of the natural resources. In this case, teachers are likely to use nonparticipatory teaching methods such as lecture and question and answer methods. However, using such teaching methods leaves out the forming of values and skills which is the core part of ESD. A model meant to improve the implementation of ESD in schools is therefore proposed.

Mots clés : Environmental education, sustainable development, education for sustainable development, teachers’ perceptions, implementation, senior secondary schools


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Page publiée le 9 avril 2018, mise à jour le 5 mars 2019