By Ricki Watkins, LCC CRSP
- Head teachers in Tanzania provide input on how to update climate-change curriculum
- LCC CRSP funds the integration of climate-change lessons into existing environmental education curriculum
- Reforestation and forest preservation efforts are being encouraged
- Teachers requested more trips to Ruaha National Park as part of the curriculum
The primary schools of the Idodi and Pawaga divisions in Tanzania have integrated environmental education into their curriculum for the past four years, with the initial help of the Friends of Ruaha Society (FORS). FORS, along with LCC CRSP, are now working to update that curriculum to include climate-change lessons. Before changing the curriculum, LCC CRSP and FORS representatives met with head teachers from the schools for their input.
In a meeting on Aug. 2, 2012, the 34 teachers and local government education officers discussed who should participate in curriculum development, what would be the best process of updating the teachers’ manual and how FORS could approach curriculum development.
“Through this meeting we have managed to build good relationships between teachers from both divisions and the FORS staff, something that is very important in project implementation,” said Mwalimu Mgelekele, of Kisanga Primary school.
Also during the meeting, the FORS staff encouraged the schools to focus on reforestation and forest preservation efforts by proposing the creation of resource centers to support tree nurseries at the schools. The centers would help schools establish tree nurseries, grow tree seedlings into trees, and distribute them in the community. The trees grown would be drought-resistant, which would make it possible for schools without water access to still grow trees. Based on input from the teachers, FORS determined the future locations of the resource centers at the meeting.
The meeting provided an opportunity for head teachers to discuss difficulties they face motivating the environmental education lessons at schools in resource-poor areas, where few residents have the opportunity to experience wildlife in a positive context.
At the meeting, the teachers requested that FORS take one class per year into Ruaha National Park, which is the second-largest park in Tanzania and home to a diverse wildlife population. FORS is trying to find funding for this activity because it would be a valuable addition to the environmental curriculum.
“FORS and other projects have found that local children and adults value environmental preservation and wildlife more when they have a chance to see the animals in their natural habitat instead of raiding their crops or predating their livestock,” the project team reported.
The head teachers and schools showed support and enthusiasm for the new FORS curriculum at the meeting.
“We thank FORS for the support you are providing to our schools and we promise cooperation so we accomplish our goals at the end of the project,” said Mwalimu Zaina Kihwele of Kimande primary school.
LCC CRSP researchers plan to meet with ministry and environmental leaders in Morogoro and Dar es Salaam to discuss incorporating climate-change lessons into school curriculum.