Preparation of the Curriculum

The course was prepared with the following underlying principles:

  1. It should reflect the needs expressed by the students and teachers of the Caritas literacy classes.
  2. It should focus on those issues of direct relevance in Sohag.
  3. The materials should be prepared in a format that will appeal and can be easily used by teachers and students alike.
  4. The course would be tested in three classes before finalising the materials.
Preparation of the course materials was undertaken jointly by Caritas teachers, staff of the Sohag Branch of the South Valley University and SEAM.

Course Content

Based on consultation with teachers and local Caritas staff, the following six topics were considered most relevant to the rural and urban communities where the curriculum was to be taught:

  • Clean air
  • Safe water
  • Food and waterborne diseases
  • Solid wastes and recycling
  • Soil conservation
  • Visual and noise pollution
The material focused on the protection of the environment and people from adverse pollution effects. Some of the specific issues discussed were the need for water conservation, the link between waste, flies and diseases, excessive use of pesticides, and pollution of irrigation canals by human and solid wastes.

Five posters were also designed to support the lessons, using images that reflect environmentally harmful practices and relevant cause-and-effect relationships.

Caritas teacher teaching the literacy class using the
environmental booklet.

Introducing the Curriculum

The booklet and the posters were pre-tested in Sohag 

with supervisors and teachers of the Caritas literacy programme. Afterwards the material was adapted using simpler language and omitting some issues in the curriculum, such as industrial pollution, which was considered less relevant for rural communities.

When the curriculum was finalised, all 150 teachers and 30 supervisors were trained for two days on the course content and on how to use the material effectively. Each teacher received a manual and two sets of posters.

Each topic was taught for three hours on a monthly basis. The students started each subject with colouring the pictures in the black-and-white posters and becoming familiar with the issues depicted within.

Community based action to improve local environmental conditions was encouraged by the Caritas teachers by giving examples close to the experiences of the students. Girls and women were encouraged to apply what they learnt in their daily acivities. Songs and stories were performed in the classes to provide a more relaxed atmosphere and practical means of communicating the messages.

Participation of Stakeholders

Key stakeholders that participated in the design and use of the environmental curriculum are summarised below.
Key Stakeholders and their Roles
Students attending literacy classes
  • Express need for environmental awareness
  • Participate actively in classes
  • Coloured educational posters
  • Participate in evaluation
Teachers of literacy classes 
  • Pre-test course curriculum
  • Undertake training
  • Carry out teaching activities
  • Participate in evaluation
Supervisors and technical support staff from Caritas
  • Paricipate in pre-testing
  • Implement training
  • Monitor teaching activities
  • Participate in evaluation
Environmental experts
  • Prepare and adapt environmental education materials

Benefits of the Environmental Lessons

The curriculum was evaluated after the subjects had been taught using a questionnaire for all teachers and through a meeting with a cross section of teachers. The evaluation focused on the problems encountered in teaching the curriculum, its acceptance by students, topics that could be added and environmental actions that occurred as a direct result of teaching the course.