Sustainable environmental management indicators in South African primary schools

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Abstract

This research explores sustainable environmental management indicators in South African primary schools. Of key interest is the comparison of a township, farm and urban primary school that identify indicators that promote education for sustainable development in schools that implement an environmental management system. Data are drawn from one-on-one interviews, focus group interviews, observations and document analysis from 35 participants in three schools. A comparison of the three schools was done by content and thematic analysis of a within-case analysis. Data from the township school revealed that socioeconomic factors and organisational structure promote education for sustainable development. The farm school data revealed that health promotion can be managed within an environmental management system within a hierarchical school structure. The urban school data revealed that an economic inducement brings a school to realise that it can reduce its carbon footprint, gain financially and utilize its resources with innovation. A case is made that the four pillars of sustainable development (environment, society, economy, and governance) endorse education for sustainable development. Furthermore, the objectives of environmental education ought to remain nested in an environmental management system to ensure that the global goal of quality education is achieved.

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de Sousa, L. O., Richter, B. W., & Raath, S. P. (2017). Sustainable environmental management indicators in South African primary schools. Sustainability (Switzerland), 9(5). https://doi.org/10.3390/su9050854

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