Effects of learning environmental management concepts on secondary school pupils in Machakos County, Kenya
Muthiani, Nelson Timothy
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In Kenya, the integration of environmental concepts into the school curriculum was effected in 1985. The goal of the study was to assess and determine secondary school pupils' understanding of environmental management concepts infused in the Secondary School Curriculum in Kenya, and how they act to improve their environment. The influence of sex and the school environment on pupils' understanding of environmental management concepts was examined. The study investigated forms three and four pupils' grasp and understanding of environmental management concepts infused in various subjects in the secondary school curriculum and its effect on their attitude toward the environment. This study was conducted in Machakos County, Kenya. Random sampling was employed to select a total of 140 pupils (70 girls and 70 boys). Forty-two teachers of physical science, agriculture, geography and biology, and fourteen school heads were selected for the study from fourteen schools to determine the challenges to teaching and learning Environmental Education in the secondary schools. The instruments for data collection were structured questionnaires, Focus Group Discussion Guide and Observation Schedule. Past Kenya Certificate of Secondary Examination papers were also analysed for Environmentai Education content in deforestation, overgrazing, soil erosion, air and water pollution, depletion of energy resources, ecological disruption, loss of biodiversity and environmental conservation among others which revealed that not more than two Environmental Education questions appeared per year between 1995 and 2005 in science, agriculture and geography. Data analysis was done qualitatively and quantitatively. A chi-square test revealed significant differential understanding based on sex and school type (p = .05). However, the overall understanding of the environmental concepts was rated moderate, even among the teachers. The study recommended a refresher course for head teachers, in the short term, to improve the management of the school plant and enhance its role as a learning resource for Environmental Education. The study concludes that there is attainment of low to moderate understanding of environmental management concepts and environmental awareness, very positive attitude and desire to act for the welfare of the environment among secondary school pupils.