After several weeks’ work studying three different modules, it was time to put students from Mukamusaba Conservation Club to the test. To assess how much they had remembered, the children were asked a set of 25 questions designed to test their understanding of the topics they had been working on.
The questions were based on the following topics:
- Species Extinction Classification
- Africa’s habitats
- Threats to habitats (for example deforestation and climate change)
- What can be done to protect the ecosystem
- The carbon cycle
- The water cycle
- Animal species present in each habitat
The results of the test were encouraging, with the highest mark at 81% and many more students achieving 60% or above. What also stood out was a genuine understanding of the topics and the sophistication of the language the students used in their answers.
The current conservation education curriculum is based on problem-based learning in the classroom. This method, used extensively in the UK, was introduced at Mukamusaba Primary School in July with the assistance of Coventry University. Encouraging students to take an active role in their learning by asking questions and working out their own solutions to real-life problems, helps to put topics into context. This makes new information more likely to be remembered; certainly the case for this group of students. The aim of conservation education is to encourage a more positive attitude towards wildlife. As predator attacks on livestock can threaten the livelihoods of farming communities, it is understandable that tolerance towards these animals should be affected. This program aims to foster long-term constructive behaviours, so that local people benefit from conserving wildlife and doing so, protect animals currently considered to be ‘pests’, such as lions and elephants.
You could be involved in conservation education at Mukamusaba Primary School by joining ALERT as a Teaching in Africa intern.