The Serengeti Teachers Environmental Program (STEP) provides Tanzanian Primary and Secondary Science teachers with an intensive training session focused on deepening understanding of environmental issues and environmental protection efforts in Tanzania.
The program is administered by the Serengeti Preservation Foundation (SPF) a Tanzanian NGO.
- Participating teachers engage a student leader in the training, and are provided with a six-week instructional curriculum and materials for follow-up classroom implementation.
- The program also gives both teachers and students from participating schools access to visit Tanzania National Parks to learn first-hand about the wildlife and their habitats. Watch a video.
- The enriched curriculum that has been developed is an aligned enhancement to the national science curriculum. It provides more current and targeted information concerning threats to conservation, and is designed to motivate students and their communities to take an active role in protecting the wildlife and habitats.
- Students are also urged to start the clubs in the schools and continue learning about wildlife and environment; and to involve their parents as well.
- We merge this with our radio programming, in which trained teachers and students are invited to the to share their knowledge with their communities.
- The program also asks students to do follow-up community programs, such as planting trees in their home surroundings doing community clean-up programs. Students serve as outreach to their families and communities.
STEP was piloted in Arusha where students and teachers were selected from schools around Arusha National Park and took a field trip to the park. Their teachers then attended the two-day training workshop on how to implement the enriched curriculum.
After the pilot, the program has been extended to a community around the Serengeti National Park. 130 students were selected from two secondary and three primary schools for a field trip in the Serengeti National Park, then teachers attended the workshop.
A key goal for STEP is to expand the model to include additional schools, primarily through a community saturation approach, and also to make STEP materials available to all schools.
There are two strategies that can potentially support provision of STEP resources to all schools:
- achieve external funding to support direct provision of materials and resources, packaged with a more expanded teacher’s guide to explain use in the classroom, and
- work to expand our contacts in the MOEVT and the Tanzanian Institute of Education (TIE) to provide these resources to support their growing teacher training and resource provision efforts.
Because SPF’s primary advisor has existing educational connections within the government of Tanzania, this direct provision of materials to government is quite possible. However, it must be noted that government would then need to allocate funds to move these resources out into schools, which requires an understanding of the value of the materials and political will to make it happen. SPF is currently planning to pursue both avenues of STEP expansion.