Education and Sensitization: A measure to resolve environmental problems in Africa

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By Perise Forbi

A key challenge of environmental problems is education. In Africa, there is a neglect of the role of education in resolving environmental problems, of which Africa is a victim. Apart from formal education in Africa, which isn’t doing enough to tackle these issues, informal education is not nearly sufficient.

  The curriculum of most educational institutions, starting from kindergarten and nursery schools up to universities, often neglect environmental education. The few educational institutions that make an effort in this domain are not up to date with information concerning global environmental changes. Consequently, the behavior of graduates or educated people compared to that of the uneducated people isn’t so different, as education on environmental problems is barely touched on in classrooms at a very low level. People in local communities and suburbs have little or no knowledge of environmental problems like climate change, desertification and land degradation, or pollution. However, many have started to notice a change in environmental conditions in recent times with the advent of floods, drought and increase temperatures

In local communities in Africa, old bad habits that contribute to environmental degradation continue today, including the indiscriminate cutting down of trees to give way for farms, the use of streams and rivers as toilets and dust bins, and the littering of non-biodegradable plastics. All of these happen as a result of lack of information and education (informal or formal) which could change the mindsets of people in these communities.

  Creating awareness and restructuring the education sector in Africa will go a long way to reduce man’s impact on the environment. Schools in Africa should have at least some compulsory courses or lessons on environmental issues. This can only be done when the governments of African countries and other stakeholders (NGO and private institutions of learning) play an active role in educating the population. Also, support from both public and private institutions to encourage young Africans students to further their studies in environmental sciences would help a lot.

If all of these are done, Africa will be able to produce more environmentally conscious individuals with or without an academic background in environmental sciences. Education (awareness) and sensitization of environmental problems in Africa will mean the beautiful rainforest in the Congo basin and wildlife diversity throughout sub-Saharan Africa will have hopes of been enjoyed by future generations. Educating young Africans on environmental issues can help to guarantee the health of Africa as a whole in the future.

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