PERCEPTIONS OF ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION INTEGRATION IN SOUTH AFRICAN SCHOOLSNonkanyiso Pamella Shabalala and Sikhulile Bonginkosi Msezane
The purpose of this study is to explore how teachers and learners in the South Coast area of Kwa Zulu- Natal perceive the integration of environmental education (EE) into the curriculum. The school grounds in this area are not well taken care of and there are no manicured gardens, and the apathy towards the environment is also displayed in the fact that there are no environmental clubs at the schools. Learnersâ indifference to the environment is evident in their behaviour, as they simply throw their litter including food wrappings, papers and bottles on the school grounds and stairways and do not use the bins provided. The data for this research was collected using face-to-face interviews with teachers and focus group interviews with learners. In this way, we were able to understand how learners and teachers perceive the environment and we then got to understand how they perceive the integration of EE in school. The findings of this study proved that there is a lack of knowledge about and caring for the environment, which can be attributed to the contradiction that exist between the EE guidelines and policies provided by the Department of Education (DoE) and the teaching practices of teachers. This study further revealed that learnersâ views about the environment is strongly influenced by the perceptions of teachers, as teachers are considered their role models.