South Africa has recently introduced a new curriculum – curriculum 2005 and its revised version, the Revised National Curriculum Statement to replace the pre-apartheid education curriculum. C-2005 had come with some major changes in the teaching and learning of most subjects in the school curriculum. Among its major changes, the new curriculum focused on Environmental Education (EE) as a theme to be offered across the entire basic education or General Education and Training (GET) level curriculum. The one implication of that new focus on Environmental Education was that all the children at the basic education level were to be introduced to EE concepts and content. While the new version of C-2005, in the form of the RNCS places arguably less focus on Environmental Education as a theme, it retains the focus on environmental learning through (for example) the first principle listed for the RNCS: “Social justice, a healthy environment, human rights and inclusively.” Furthermore, a number of learning area outcomes with an environmental focus have also been retained. The whole focus on environmental learning, whether as a principle or a theme, is an unprecedented change in the curriculum of South Africa. Not many teachers, policymakers, learners, and other education stakeholders however, have the necessary experience to make such a major focus on Environmental learning workable within the current provincial systems of the country. It is against this background that a research was initiated to find out how the various provinces have responded to this new curriculum focus on EE. The study sought to explore the distribution of Environmental Education Opportunities to learn in the Mpumalanga province. Data for the study were collected mainly through qualitative interviews and document analysis with Environmental Education coordinator, subject advisers and the subject teachers within the province. An important finding in the study among others is that the Mpumalanga Education Department (MDE) on its own appears to have limited intellectual and material resources with which to build the schools’ instructional capacity for the implementation of the new Environmental Education policies and programs. I concluded the study by positing possible approach for providing Opportunities to Learn Environmental Education through an interaction between governmental and non-governmental resources and programmes in Mpumalanga.
Dissertation (MEd (Curriculum and Instructional Design and Development))--University of Pretoria, 2008.