A Preliminary Survey of Environmental Awareness in Some Secondary School Pupils in Zimbabwe
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For sustainable development to be effective there must be appropriate environmental education strategies which provide people with the necessary knowledge and attitudes and skills. This paper is based on exploratory research to establish the level of environmental knowledge, attitudes towards environmental issues, environmental activities and problem-solving skills of secondary school pupils in determining appropriate strategies for sustainable development. The methods used to obtain information include a questionnaire, a review of secondary sources including policy documents and the various syllabuses which contain aspects of environmental education, and interviews with officials at the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Higher Education. The questionnaire was administered to 555 Form 1 and Form 4 secondary school pupils at 8 secondary schools, 4 rural schools in Chirumanzu District, Midlands Province, and 4 urban schools in Harare. The questionnaire was designed to ascertain the knowledge, attitudes, activities and problem solving skills of pupils as regards a wide range of environmental issues in Zimbabwe. The research attempted to identify differences, if any, between Form 1 pupils and Form 4 pupils, and between those living in a rural environment and those living in an urban environment. The results revealed that although there was a relatively high level of environmental knowledge amongst the pupils, understanding and analysis of this knowledge was considerably lower, as were skills of solving environmental problems. Environmental activities such as tree planting were quite widespread. Form 4s scored much higher than Form Is, and generally, rural pupils did better than urban pupils. The interviews confirmed that there is no official policy on environmental education in Zimbabwe. The research concludes with a series of recommendations to enhance the status of environmental education, especially in secondary schools, in Zimbabwe, and to ensure that future generations possess the necessary knowledge, attitudes and skills to enable them to participate effectively in the sustainable development of Zimbabwe's natural resources.