Primary and Secondary School Teachers’ Conception of Environmental Education in the English and French Speaking Subsystems of Education in Cameroon
Cameroon is considered Africa in miniature because of its diversified ecological zones, linguistic and sociocultural background with two subsystems of education inherited from France and Great Britain. We intend to evaluate the efficiency of government’s policy for environmental education for sustainable development in this diversified context. Teachers’ conception of environmental education (EE) was investigated using questionnaire created and validated by the Biohead-Citizen research project. The Principal component analysis (PCA) global results revealed three poles: ecocentric, anthropocentric and sentimentocentric, with some correlation between preservation (A28, A22) and anti-GMO opinions (A13, A47), and between utilization (A23, A32) and pro-GMO opinions (A12, A39). Between-class analyses showed that these conceptions were determined by language and groups of teachers rather than by age, religion, gender or level of education. In-service and pre-service primary schools teachers differed from their secondary school colleagues in being more anthropocentric and less ecocentric. English-speaking teachers’ conceptions are more anthropocentric and less ecocentric than their French-speaking counterparts. English-speaking teachers also think the main goal of environmental education (EE) is more of knowledge provision than developing responsible behaviour. An orthogonal Principal component analysis based on instrumental variables (PCAIV) showed persistence of the differences observed at ρ = 0.001, thus effect of language and group of teachers are mutually exclusive. These results show that the different educational subsystems within Cameroon have resulted in different attitudes related to environmental education. This highlights the need for harmonising the two systems for common citizenship values. In perspective it would be interesting to compare these results with those of France and Britain to establish the impact of colonialism on such conceptions, as well as to develop didactic strategies to overcome identified obstacles towards conceptual change.
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