Environmental projects in schools in South Africa : a case study of an environmental educational project at a working class school on the Cape Flats
This research identifies the challenges of a three-year environmental education project in a primary school in Cape Town. The project, an indigenous fynbos garden, was located at a school in a working class area in Cape Town’s south eastern areas, also known as the “Cape Flats”. The garden at the school was initiated as a formal partnership project with Kirstenbosch Gardens in 2006 and the partnership ended in 2009. The research sought answers to the following questions: to what extent and how have the goals/guidelines as stipulated in the Kirstenbosch Outreach Greening Project (KOGP) partnership been understood and implemented by the educators; what have been the kinds of support from school management for the project; what factors might increase the sustainability of the KOGP at Stephen Road Primary School? The research drew on policy implementation literature, in-depth interviews and personal observations. The findings were that while the project was doable, it was not in line with the declining human resources available and added to stresses experienced by teachers who were trying to perform basic tasks related to classroom teaching and getting learners to pass basic subjects. Also the school saw a dramatic decline in learner and educators numbers from 2006 onwards. Although all educators were involved in environmental activities at the school, none of them was fulltime in Environmental Education (EE) and had many other areas to teach or administer. The success of the KOGP also depended on the active participation of the school’s management and the School Governing Body (SGB) and this also seemed to be lacking.