Universal Journal of Educational Research Vol. 10(5), pp. 334 - 348
DOI: 10.13189/ujer.2022.100503
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Teaching Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in South African High Schools in the Frances Baard District

Johane Hlatywayo 1,*, Sadhana Manik 2
1 School of Natural & Applied Sciences, Sol Plaatje University, Northern Cape, South Africa
2 School of Education, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Edgewood, South Africa


Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is an exciting development in Geography education locally and internationally. GIS has been part of the senior high school Geography curriculum for over a decade in South Africa. However, matric pass rates in the GIS section of Geography, which is examined in paper 2 of the national examinations, are low. This research was conducted to investigate the teaching methods used by teachers to teach GIS in high schools in the Frances Baard district, Northern Cape Province. The mixed method approach and the multiple-case study design were used for the study. Data from teachers were gathered using a questionnaire, interviews, and lesson observations. The questionnaire was completed by 50 teachers, and 10 teachers were interviewed and observed while teaching GIS topics. Results showed that most teachers used multiple teaching approaches, which were mainly teacher-centred. These included lecturing, explanation, questioning at the expense of learner-centred approaches that were fundamental for GIS instruction. These methods were used due to challenges that teachers faced in GIS teaching including a lack of physical resources to teach GIS, large classes, a lack of proper training, and time constraints. The question of how GIS should be taught in high schools has been a source of consternation among geography educators, more especially in developing countries such as South Africa, where some schools lack resources such as computers, GIS software, internet connectivity, and electricity connection. The utility and value of having GIS in the curriculum, such as promoting e-education generally, cannot be achieved if there is no systemic initiative to create appropriate environments and skills for teachers entrusted with teaching GIS. The current teaching approaches used fail to propel GIS to better learning and understanding by the learners. This is reflected by the ongoing low pass rate in the GIS section nationally. The study proposes a paradigm shift in the way GIS is being taught in high schools. Teachers should use teaching methods that are learner-centred. Students would then actively create knowledge through their own GIS experiences as a result of the learner-centred teaching methods. We argue that GIS topics should be taught in GIS laboratories, where learners are taught both theory and its practical application.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Pedagogical Approaches, TPACK

Cite This Paper in IEEE or APA Citation Styles
(a). IEEE Format:
[1] Johane Hlatywayo , Sadhana Manik , "Teaching Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in South African High Schools in the Frances Baard District," Universal Journal of Educational Research, Vol. 10, No. 5, pp. 334 - 348, 2022. DOI: 10.13189/ujer.2022.100503.

(b). APA Format:
Johane Hlatywayo , Sadhana Manik (2022). Teaching Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in South African High Schools in the Frances Baard District. Universal Journal of Educational Research, 10(5), 334 - 348. DOI: 10.13189/ujer.2022.100503.