Original Research

Exploring the use of experiential learning in promoting the integration of disaster risk reduction into primary school curriculum: A case of Botswana

Sebia Mutasa, Christo Coetzee
Jàmbá: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies | Vol 11, No 1 | a416 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v11i1.416 | © 2019 Sebia Mutasa, Christo Coetzee | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 December 2016 | Published: 21 February 2019

About the author(s)

Sebia Mutasa, Botlhale International School, Gaborone, Botswana
Christo Coetzee, Faculty of Environmental Science and Management, North-West University, South Africa


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Abstract

A key imperative of Botswana’s adherence to international, regional and local policy on disaster risk reduction (DRR) relates to creating awareness and an understanding of disaster risk. One avenue of creating an understanding of risk is vested in the integration of DRR into primary school curriculums. Botswana has been slow to adhere to the above-mentioned policy imperatives. This paper argues that the slow pace of integration has been driven by a combination of a lack of clarity on the most appropriate teaching methodology through which to deliver information to young students on a topic as complex as DRR, as well as a general lack of policy and resource support from national government. These assertions are tested in a mixed-method research design that included questionnaires, document reviews and interviews. Questionnaires were administered to 30 teachers drawn from six primary schools in Gaborone, as well as in-depth interviews with two key informants drawn from the Curriculum Development Unit and National Disaster Management Office. The study finds that the experiential learning (EL) method provides an appropriate method by which DRR knowledge can be conveyed within the existing curriculum, as many teachers who have taken the innovative step of integrating DRR into their existing subjects are already implementing key components associated with the EL model. It is also established that although EL provides many potential benefits for an integrated DRR curriculum, the lack of clear policy direction and lack of various supporting resources are preventing the method benefits from being realised for Botswana primary schools.

Keywords

disaster risk reduction; curriculum; integration; experiential learning; risk

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