In its continued efforts to assist in addressing the critical shortage of teaching skills on environmental education in schools, Children In The Wilderness (CITW) in partnership with First National Bank Botswana Foundation and the Ministry of Education have this week hosted an eco-training mentorship for Environmental Education teachers from eight schools across the country.
The training which was facilitated by various stakeholders which included Okavango Research Institute (ORI), Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (BUAN) and Local Enterprise Authority (LEA) aimed at equipping teachers with skills to complement the basic education curriculum and bridging the knowledge gap on environmental education within primary and secondary schools.
CITW runs environmental conservation programs in schools located in areas where Okavango Wilderness Safaris operates – as an extracurricular activity that empowers learners with environmental education, life skills and leadership development
Speaking during the official opening of the training in Maun this week, Okavango CITW Coordinator Moalosi Lebekwe said the main objective of the training was for teachers to be able to infuse the concept of conservation and sustainable use of natural resources across the country.
He noted that CITW increases children’s awareness, bridges cultural divides, broadens horizons, builds confidence, provides opportunities for new friendships, positive life choices, and reveals career opportunities.
Mpho Stoff a teacher and environmental education (EE) regional coordinator at Parakarungu primary school appreciated that the training will help equip teachers with relevant skills that will enhance children’s knowledge about the environment, physical and human geography as well as conservation.
Stoff said it is imperative for teachers to be equipped with such skills in order to execute the curriculum and instill relevant skills from grass roots level. She noted that through the teachings, students will be able to earn a living through sustainable use of natural resources in their area.
She noted that since the introduction of the environmental education, learners have had a self-esteem boost and interest in coming to school and participating in the club. She noted that this is an advantage as their school is located in a rural area where often students abscond and have less interest on school activities.
For her part, North West Region, Environmental Education coordinator, Veronica Ridge indicated that after a two-year halt of extracurricular activities in schools, it was necessary to train teachers on different subjects, such environment and conservation.
“During this period some teachers were transferred to different schools while some retired, some schools were left without trained environmental education teachers to facilitate the club in some schools,” Ridge noted.
She has since urged teachers who had the opportunity to receive the eco-training mentorship to share and train fellow teacher in their schools.