This study was conducted to investigate the extent to which the Life Sciences curriculum integrates green economy content, as functional green economy knowledge amongst South African citizens could address socio-economic challenges in South Africa. Primarily, document analysis of the Grade 10-12 Life Sciences Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) was conducted to determine whether green economy content was prescribed in the CAPS document and to what degree. Secondly, Grade 10 Life Sciences teachers completed questionnaires and participated in interviews to reveal their opinions on the integration of green economy content in the Life Sciences curriculum, their understanding of green economy and its implementation, as well as their opinions on the relevance of the current Life Sciences curriculum’s content for afterschool use.
The research findings revealed that the Life Sciences curriculum can serve the purpose of introducing students to green economy aspects, however changes must be made to the curriculum so that functional green economy content is integrated. Currently, the curriculum does not provide guidelines for teachers on how to educate learners in such a manner that they will be able to participate in a green economy. Much of the content related to green economy topics is prescribed as extra content without the inclusion of student investigations or skill development activities. Furthermore, content on plants and human anatomy are prescribed and assessed in much greater detail than the environmental studies strand, resulting in the exclusion of much green economy related content. Findings indicate that socioscientific issues such as green economy are not linked to the environmental studies subject content, which means that daily-life application of content remains unclear to students. In addition to this, teachers revealed that they have knowledge of environmentally green practices but are unsure of how these relate to the economy.
The researcher proposes that curriculum designers completely integrate green economy content into the Life Sciences CAPS document, including not only content for discussion purposes but also investigations and activities which will lead to skills development, compelling learners to modify their behaviour and seek solutions to the urgent problems faced by humanity in terms of environmental degradation and economic collapse.