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Curriculum, Teaching  & Learning
Wanja Gitari

Wanja Gitari

phone: (416) 978-0072

Department: Curriculum, Teaching and Learning

Research Overview

Dr. Wanja Gitari is an Associate Professor of science education with the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning at OISE/UT and the Institute for the Study of University Pedagogy (ISUP) at UTM. Her primary research interests focus on cognitive continuity in science learning, access, equity and retention in science education; socio-cultural context of science education and the cultural knowledge of indigenous cultures. Dr. Gitari supervises graduate work in these areas.

She is a member of educational research organizations including the Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE) and the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST).

She is also an associate editor of the Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education (CJSMTE).

Some of Professor Gitari's funded research projects have investigated the relationship between certain elements of everyday knowledge of natural phenomena and school science, by looking into the possibilities of integrating everyday knowledge into school science and engendering scientific creativity in everyday life.

She is the author of articles and book chapters on science education and its link to social justice.

Curriculum Vitae

Academic History

Doctorate in Education, OISE, University of Toronto, CTL, 2000
Thesis title: An Inquiry into the Integration of Indigenous Knowledges and Skills in the Kenyan Secondary Science Curriculum

Master of Arts, OISE, University of Toronto, CTL: Science Education, 1993
Thesis title: Influences of Social Factors on the Work Context of Science Teachers and on the Implementation of Science Curriculum: A Case of Two Kenyan High Schools

Bachelor of Education, Department of Botany and Zoology, Kenyatta University

Teaching Overview

Dr. Gitari has taught the following graduate-level courses at OISE:

CTL 1221H Educating for Humanitarian Goals locally and globally: How is science education helping?
CTL 1799H School Science and the Search for Optimal Living Conditions
CTL 1799H Ways of Knowing in Science and Technology: Cross-Cultural Issues in Science and Technology Education
CTL 1211 Action Research in Science & Technology Education; Course Leader: Professor Derek Hodson; and several Individual Reading Courses.

She also developed and implemented a science initiative and taught a related course Reasoning in the Sciences (TYP0151H) at the Transitional Year Programme (TYP), University of Toronto: 2000-2020

Representative Publications


Gitari, W. (2012). Building endogenous science in Africa and laying foundation for the    improvement of social welfare. In A. Asabere-Ameyaw, G. J. S. Dei & K. Raheen   (Eds.), Contemporary Issues in African Science Education (pp. 29-54).          Rotterdam/ New York: Sense Publication.

Gitari, W. (2008). Some Issues of Science Education in Africa. In S.N. Dlamini (Ed.), New Directions in African Education (pp. 41-72; 31 pages). Calgary: University of Calgary Press.

Gitari, W. (2003). Science Literacy: Schooled Science in the Service of Equity and Social Justice. In K.S. Brathwaite (Ed.), Access and Equity in the University (pp 349-374; 25 pages). Toronto: Canadian Scholars Press.


Gitari, W., & Gerrard, D. (2017). Prioritizing scientific discourse by adult learners: An analysis of student writing using Bloom’s Taxonomy. The International Journal of Adult, community and Professional Learning, 24(1), 15-30. 

Gitari, W. (2016). The application of school science by urban high school youth through problem solving in everyday life. Science Education International 27(3), 344-368. 

DeCoito, I., & Gitari, W. (2014). Contextualized Science Outreach Programs: A Case for Indigenizing Science Education Curriculum in Aboriginal Schools. First Nations Perspectives, 6 (1), 26-51. 

Gitari, W. (2009). Exploring the Understanding and Common Use of Scientific and Everyday Knowledge and Students‟ Agency in a Kenyan High School. Canadian Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, 9(4), 262-275.

Gitari, W. (2006). Teaching Science to Pre-university Students: Science as a Way of Knowing. Curriculum Perspective, 26(3), 44-54.

Gitari, W. (2006). Everyday Objects of Learning about Health and Healing and Implications for Science Education. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 43(2), 172-193.

Gitari, W. (2005). Book Review: (Teaching Science for Social Justice [Angela Calabrese Barton with Jason L. Ermer, Tahania A. Burkett, and Margery D. Osborne, 2003]). International Journal of Science Education, 27(7), 881-885.

Research Grants and Contracts

Dr. Gitari has been awarded a number of research grants including Social Sciences and Humanities Research (SSHRC) Institutional Grants.

Honours and Awards

Dr. Gitari has received the following awards:

Canadian Researchers Award from the International Research Development Center (IDRC).

Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) Scholarship.

Professional Activities

Service in committees including Awards; Final Oral Exam (FOE); Equity, Diversity & Inclusion; Hiring; and involvement in Research centres

Professional Memberships and Affiliations:

Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE)
National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST)