Integrating sand mining in the ordinary level Geography school syllabus in Uganda: a case of Katosi Town Council Mukono District
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The study examined the integration of the teaching of sand mining into the ordinary level Geography Secondary school syllabus in a sand mining area of Katosi Town Council Mukono District. Specifically, the study explored the status of sand mining, the need to integrate sand mining into the O-level Geography syllabus and how the integration could be done. An explanatory design was employed, and data was collected using open-ended questionnaires, interview and observation guides from 27 participants including 6 Geography teachers, 14 O level students and 4 Environmental personals. Pragmatic Content Analysis was used to analyse data. The findings showed that sand mining in Katosi is now the most important economic activity in the area, employing most youths and men, due to the high demand for the mineral being used in construction, recreation, water purification, landscape design and glass making. This scenario resulted into sand being mined unsustainably, predisposing the area to lasting environmental degradation and health challenges. It was discovered that the integration of sustainable sand mining in the O-level Geography syllabus was supported by the current Geography curriculum. Schools and teachers in the area could start integrating it locally in their teaching. The respondents lamented that they teach the mining of other minerals like gold and copper which are not an environmental threat in their area and neglect sand mining, which is nearer and important in the lives of students in the area. Respondents said that frantic efforts are needed by the local leaders and education administrators to encourage teachers to teach sustainable sand mining in projects and field work and examine it locally. The study therefore recommended that Teachers should be trained on how to infuse the teaching of sand mining in the local syllabus, using more practical methods such as fieldwork. The local leaders should visit secondary schools in the area and impress upon school management the need to teach issues that concern the community as long as the curriculum allows it. The curriculum developers (NCDC), Uganda National Examinations Board and policy makers in the ministry of education should revisit the Geography syllabus and questions set to allow for localised examination of important environmental, development community issues.