Environmental education (EE) in Zimbabwe is implemented through both the formal and non-formal/informal education sectors. In primary schools, teacher’s colleges and some universities, EE is taught in the form of Environmental Science. At the secondary school level, EE has been integrated in subjects such as geography, agriculture, and science. In some universities, EE is also taught at under-graduate level. At all academic levels, EE in Zimbabwe aims to educate students and the public through the environment.
Policy & Practice
Zimbabwe developed its EE policy through a multi-stakeholder consultative approach in 2000 and 2001, and in 2003 the policy was promoted widely to a broad range of stakeholders.
EE in K-12 Education
In secondary and tertiary education, most EE in Zimbabwe takes place through STEM subjects such as the natural sciences, where there is a focus on the biophysical aspects of the environment. Zimbabwe’s environmental policy also seeks to promote sustainable development (SD) through several priorities that include: conserving biodiversity and maintaining the natural resource base and its basic processes; promoting equitable access to resources with a view to reducing poverty; encouraging SD through optimum use of resources/energy and minimizing environmental damage; promoting public awareness through EE; and developing an effective institutional framework to promote environmental sustainability and Implementing international agreements on environmental issues.
There are a number of NGOs in Zimbabwe that are engaged in EE. For example, Sebakwe Conservation and Education Centre in Zimbabwe offers diverse and unique environmental educational experiences for schools, colleges, and universities. The Education Centre promotes environmental conservation research through partnerships with local and international colleges and universities, promotes the involvement of local communities in environmental conservation and management issues, and also initiates capacity building training workshops for local communities on conservation and development issues. The Sebakwe Conservation and Education Centre was built in 2003 in conjunction with Wildlife and Environment Zimbabwe, and officially started in 2004. It recognizes that the long-term sustainability and conservation of the environment and wildlife, specifically the critically endangered Black Rhinoceros within the Midlands Black Rhino Conservancy, is linked to the environmental consciousness of the local communities, schools, colleges, and universities. The Centre is framed within the philosophical foundations of internationally recognised principles of EE and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) as embedded in the 1977 Tbilisi principles of EE, Agenda 21 of 1992 and others. Some of the projects carried out by Sebakwe Conservation and Education Centre include beekeeping, a nutritional garden, and village-based scouts.
The Pan African Conservation Education (PACE) Project is an initiative of the British charity TUSK, which supports conservation and sustainability education, providing ideas, information, educational resources, and training for teachers and learners across Africa. PACE works together with youth, women, faith, and other groups in rural and urban settings to provide ideas for income generation, soil, woodland, water and waste management, and other ways of improving the well-being of people and the natural world around them. Some of the themes that PACE focuses on include urban living, soil, forests, living with wildlife, water, energy and living by the ocean.
Environment Africa is actively engaged in green schools, climate change, water wells, nutrition gardens, and backyard gardens with local community people in Zimbabwe. Other activities include sustainable livelihoods through beekeeping, whereby Environment Africa encourages global forest conservation and sustainable consumption for green growth. According to Environment Africa (2011), this has been a successful initiative in Zimbabwe. Moreover, it is through Environment Africa that a local community group in the city of Mutare, in the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe, developed a low cost, environment friendly stove which utilizes sawdust.