Disaster education : a critical analysis of the integration of disaster risk reduction in primary school curriculum in Botswana
Globally, countries have been faced with severe disasters that affect mainly children because their vulnerabilities are not addressed through DRR policies and practices. These disasters also affect their education in many ways that include disruption of the school calendar, damage to school infrastructure and inaccessible roads. Importance of integrating DRR into school curriculums include, helping children in identifying and responding to risks that are found in their community which will reduce their vulnerability and building resilience, deaths will be reduced as children will be better prepared regarding what to do in a disaster, and students can act as information disseminators to the whole community. This study aimed at investigating the extent of DRR integration into the Botswana primary school curriculum. To investigate this, the research objectives guided the direction of the research and research questions were formulated and aligned to each of the research objectives. The mixed method approach was used which was a combination of qualitative and quantitative approach as well as four data collection tools, namely secondary data collection, structured and semi-structured questionnaires and observation. To help answer the questions, the four types of primary schools in Botswana were used, these being PYP schools, Government Schools, English Medium Schools and Cambridge Schools. Staff from the Curriculum Development Unit and Disaster Management Office were also took part. The study highlighted the global policies that featured DRR education and two such policy were the now lapsed HFA, through its Priority for Action 3, Core indicator 2 resolved to use knowledge, innovation and education to build a culture of safety and resilience at all levels of society by integrating DRR into the curriculum, and its successor, the Sendai Framework for DRR 2015-2030. Botswana also came up with the National Disaster Risk Reduction Strategy 2013-2018 which promotes the awareness of DRR at schools and communities known to be at risk. The study also revealed that in integrating DRR into the curriculum vertical integration across the curriculum, where DRR themes and topics could be infused into different subjects could be most ideal for Botswana. The research found out that activities through experiential learning theory were the most suitable for DRR curriculum integration process. EL was found to link what students learn in class with what they do at home and in the community. Botswana is a country that has a fair share of disasters but children in Botswana are given very little knowledge, skills and tools to prepare effectively for the disasters. The study revealed that children in Botswana remain vulnerable to hazards because the government has not given to the in-depth integration of DRR in the primary school in Botswana. Though the educators appreciated the importance of integrating DRR into the curriculum, they also highlighted the challenges that they encounter in this endeavour. The major challenges being, educators lack of knowledge and skills and an already bloated curriculum, should DRR education be introduced as a subject. Solutions to these challenges were also suggested as training/workshops for teachers in DRR education teaching and resource allocation. The study concluded with some recommendation which largely emanated from respondents suggestions. These included that, Government should commit to DRR curriculum integration and teacher training to support the teaching of DRR education, DRR education and EL should be formalised into subsequence policy documents as well as in teacher-training, and use of infusion through vertical integration in DRR integration into the primary school as it is a familiar approach to Botswana education
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