Title page for ETD etd-10112011-121840

Document Type Doctoral Thesis
Author Rambau, Simon Takalani
Email strambau@gmail.com
URN etd-10112011-121840
Document Title Educational perspectives on learner awareness of hazards and disasters
Degree PhD
Department Humanities Education
Advisor Name Title
Prof J W Fraser Co-Supervisor
Prof L D Beukes Supervisor
  • hazards
  • curriculum
  • integrated teaching and learning
  • local knowledge
  • indigenous knowledge
  • informal settlements
  • resilience
  • disasters vulnerability
  • instructional design
Date 2011-09-05
Availability unrestricted
The global community is experiencing an increasing number of disasters that ranges from earthquakes, floods, storms, epidemics, fires, landslides, hurricanes, tsunamis and social conflicts that result to loss of life and properties. South Africa is dominated by localised incidents, such as wild fires, seasonal flooding, droughts and accidents in the mining industry. Resource-poor communities such as those residing in many parts of South African informal settlements, currently live with a range of stresses and risks including climate risks, HIV/AIDS and access to insecure land.

While disaster relief has been at the forefront for quite a long time, communities are increasingly looking at disaster risk reduction as the best solution to safeguard human lives and property. Scholars and policy makers are relying on disaster preparedness and resilience as strategies to ensure disaster risk reduction. Disaster education has emerged as a pinnacle for both the preparedness and resilience by teaching communities about the prevalence of hazards and associated vulnerabilities.

The aim of this investigation was to determine how education in particular, curriculum and instructional design contributes to learners’ awareness of hazards and disasters. A mixed method research was used to address the question combining questionnaires, interviews and document study as data collection strategies. The questionnaires were distributed to 150 educators from schools located in informal settlements of Ivory Park in Gauteng, Brits in North West Province, Isipingo in KwaZulu-Natal, Bizana in the Eastern Cape and Khayelitsha in the Western Cape. Interviews were conducted with 5 curriculum specialists, 3 disaster specialists and 2 disaster lectures.

The findings of the investigation is that the South African National Curriculum Statements explicitly prescribe hazards and disaster learning outcomes only for Grade 7 Social Science and is silent in other grades and learning areas. Some scholars pointed out that there is no adequate translation of curriculum policy provisions to classroom practice in South Africa, which raises questions on the extent to which learners from South African schools are taught about hazards and disasters as prescribed in the National Curriculum Statements. The investigation also found that educators are overburdened with administrative work and would not be in the position to collaborate with one another to develop learning programmes and to teach indigenous knowledge or hazards and disasters.

In this study, it is argued that for education to make effective contribution to learners’ awareness of hazards and disasters, the national curriculum should focus on the broad learning outcomes used as guideline to develop learning programmes for disasters and hazards that are provincial, district and local areas specific. The development and teaching for hazards and disasters should be specified in all grades across all learning areas. Another argument presented in this study is that the National Disaster Management Centre should play a crucial role in mobilising other stakeholders involved in disaster risk reductions to develop learning programmes as they have hands-on experience of managing disasters so that alleviate the burden for educators to be gathering data for learning programme development.

© 2011 University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Rambau, ST 2011, Educational perspectives on learner awareness of hazards and disasters, PhD thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-10112011-121840 / >


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