The Integration of environmental education into the Primary school science curriculum in Tororo District
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This study was on the integration of Environmental Education into the Primary School Science Curriculum. The purpose of the study, was to assess ways in which EE integration had been done in the Integrated Science Syllabus for primary schools: methods teachers used to integrate EE aspects in Science teaching, the constraints, challenges and limitations teachers face in teaching the Integrated Science Syllabus; and how all these affected the learners’ perception of EE, their environmental literacy and participation in conservation activities. The study adopted a descriptive cross-section research design of exploratory nature. The population of study included: curriculum developers who participated in producing the Integrated Science Syllabus, Inspectors of Schools both in Tororo Municipality and West Budama County, officials of Education Standards Agency (ESA), National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) District Environment Officer - Teachers in the study areas, male and female primary school pupils in each of the classes primary six and seven. The study involved fifteen schools: five of the schools were from the municipality while ten were from rural area. Respondents were purposively selected and frequencies, percentages and chi-square were used to analyze the data that was obtained. The findings revealed that there was satisfactory content integration of EE in the primary science syllabus. Most of the respondents were satisfied with it. The themes and topics of science where EE had been integrated were mainly components of the environment, environmental degradation, energy resources in the environment and science at home and community. Integration of EE was also done in Human Health, Weather, and Water Cycle. However, more content integration of EE aspects in the primary science syllabus was still needed to cover all the topics. It was found that there was very low integration of values, skills and conservation practices, especially in the way teachers taught science. Findings show that most teachers, headteachers, inspectors, ESA and NEMA officials had satisfactory concept of EE. This is shown by the high percentage of responses of the attributes of EE those who agree to the provided attributes of EE. However, there was also a high percentage of 88% of teachers who expressed that the central problem of teaching EE practically is time wasting and requires many other resources. The teaching methods and resources for the lesson in rural and urban primary schools were ineffective or very ineffective, and thus the methods for teaching EE in science were poor. However, the situation was found worse in the rural schools as compared to the counterparts of the urban. The methods teachers used in the observed lacked learner active participation and tended to emphasize content more than the practice. The major challenges and limitations encountered by teachers in the teaching of EE in integrated science syllabus were lack of trained personnel in EE, lack of funds, inadequate instructional materials, lack of reference books, lack of motivation, limited time for lessons, schools have small land and low interest by pupils in EE. In conclusion, the study established that there satisfactory integration of EE content into the primary science syllabus learners’materials. However, efforts could be done to include EE in all themes and topics. Teachers need to improve upon the methods so that EE integration at the level of values, skills and conservation practices are integrated well in the science curriculum. This is quite possible since the teachers have satisfactory perception of EE and its integration. The study also established a number of challenges teachers face when integrating EE. Some of the challenges require teacher support while others are of management nature and require Ministry of Education, and Sports action. It is recommended that further integration be done to include values, skills and practices. In order to help teachers understand well the environmental concepts and issues in primary science syllabus, the following should be done: provide non textbook materials, orient teachers on EE concepts, provide environment modules, incursion of EE in PTCs, guide them to produce integrated lessons, writing primary teachers’ source book and provide enough materials on EE. For effective teaching of environmental issues in integrated science syllabus, there is need for enough textbooks and more trained teachers. A number of methods for teaching EE aspect in integrated science syllabus need to be adopted in those schools, which neglected to use them. These included discussion and observation, experimentation, demonstration, field trip, excursion, project methods, and explanation, in order of importance.