An evaluation of the life science curriculum in Namibia and its development through stakeholders' perceptions of "learner centred education"

Kristensen, Jesper Olsson (1999) An evaluation of the life science curriculum in Namibia and its development through stakeholders' perceptions of "learner centred education". Masters thesis, Rhodes University.

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Abstract

Following Independence in 1991 Namibia embarked on a major reform of the entire education system. The reform was perceived as a way of redressing the apartheid legacy and bringing about a democratic learner centred education for all. At the same time the reform was also seen as a prime vehicle to bring about sustainable development through incorporating relevant environmental education into various carrier subjects. One such carrier has been the subject Life Science, which is compulsory from Grade 8 to Grade 10. The Life Science Project was a joint venture between the Ministry of Education and Ibis, a Danish Development NGO, established to develop and support the implementation of Life Science in junior secondary schools. This half-thesis is an evaluation of the Life Science Project through an analysis of the central assumptions on which the Life Science curriculum is based and by investigating different stakeholders’ perceptions and understanding of the learner centred approach adopted by the curriculum. Three questions have guided this research: 1. Are there curriculum models that are more conducive for reform and change than others? 2. Do stakeholders and curriculum developers in Namibia understand the theory of social constructivism, and the systemic implications such an approach has for the education system? 3. Which approach to environmental education complements a transformative curriculum and the changes outlined in policy? From the research carried out in this half-thesis, it would appear that the Namibian education system and the Life Science curriculum suffers from what could be termed “ideological confusion”. Confusion in the sense that there are marked inconsistencies between policy and praxis, between the stated goals and aims of the reform and the curriculum designed to achieve these. This confusion is further exacerbated by various stakeholders’ different interpretations of both policy and the systemic implications the reform policy has on education. In this half-thesis I argue that embarking on an objectives driven model of curriculum cannot bring about change and transformation of the Namibian education system. I further argue that, by not having considered and implemented the necessary systemic changes to the education system, Namibia has, in fact, developed a child centred education system which is fundamentally different from a learner centred education system. Finally, I argue that environmental education, through the subject Life Science, set within an objectives driven, Child Centred Education system is inappropriate for and unable to address the need for developing an environmentally literate citizenry who are able to take informed decisions in order to address the environmental crisis and bring forth a more sustainable future.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Life science project, Curriculum evaluation, Namibia, Environmental education, Educational change, Life sciences
Subjects:L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1603 Secondary Education. High schools
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Education > Education
ID Code:2266
Deposited By: Ms Chantel Clack
Deposited On:09 Jan 2012 12:40
Last Modified:09 Jan 2012 12:40
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