SCIENCE TEACHERS’ CONCEPTUAL UNDERSTANDING OF INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE IN THE PRIMARY SCHOOLS OF ESWATINI
The taught science curriculum in Eswatini schools predominantly projects a western worldview, which assumes superiority over Indigenous Knowledge (IK). The science curriculum-in-use is prescriptive in nature and that undermines teachers’ and learners’ everyday life experiences and knowledge. The study seeks to elicit science teachers’ conceptual understanding of IK. The study has adopted the positivist paradigm, framed from a case study design which allows the use of quantitative approaches. The study has also been informed by the social constructivist theory which emphasizes that meaningful learning is culture-bound and grows out of social encounters. Data were collected using a questionnaire that was administered to 110 randomly sampled primary school science teachers for the senior grades in the Southern Hhohho region of Eswatini. A validated close-ended questionnaire, with Cronbach Alpha reliability coefficient α=0.78 was developed and used for data collection. Data were analysed using percentages, descriptive and inferential statistics through the statistical package SPSS version 20.0 software. Findings reveal that Science teachers were conceptually aware of the value of IK that learners bring into the science classroom (M>3.00). Analysis further reveals that science teachers’ conceptual understanding of IK was significantly influenced by gender where female teachers were more knowledgeable than males (p=.005). There were age related differences of the teachers’ conceptual understanding in the lower range and displayed more similar attributes in the upper range due to the experience (p=.002). Finally, they were no statistical significant gender-age interaction effect and qualification effect on the respondents (p=.034). The paper, recommends that science teachers should be capacitated in IK both at pre-service and in-service levels in order to bridge the gap between school science and IK and to harmonise the teaching and learning of science.