This is an exciting programme that aims to make young people aware of the environmental and the sustainability issues that they face in their local school and community. The initial phase comprises 100 schools across Melaka State, Malaysia, with a further 214 schools planned for 2018 before being expanded further in Malaysia and beyond. The programme is implemented through primary and secondary school by the teachers themselves and the students undertake a school project that responds to a particular environmental need in their location.
The goal is to make a lasting impact on their attitude towards the environment, and in so doing, make them an ambassador for green issues – for life! Foundation for Environmental Education, Denmark and WWF-Malaysia are the strategic partners for this programme.
The Eco-Schools Programme is dynamic in its approach and aims to make young people aware of the environmental and sustainability issues that face their local school and community. The programme seeks to make a real life connection for the young people through the project that they undertake that will have a lasting impact on their attitude towards the environment, and in so doing, make them an ambassador for green issues – for life!
The Eco-Schools Programme is an environmental education and certification programme that encourages schools to take a holistic approach when addressing environmental management and conservation issues that are faced by the school itself as well as the local community surrounding it. It is an ongoing programme that schools participate in each year.
The Eco-Schools Programme was launched in 1994 by the Foundation for Environmental Education Europe, later to become Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), in a number of European countries as a response to the needs discussed during the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development a couple of years earlier. Today, FEE has over 80 member organisations in 68 countries worldwide, with more than 15 million students across 58 countries being involved in the Eco-Schools Programme.
The implementation of the Eco-Schools Programme at the state level in Melaka will be undertaken in a collaborative effort between Green Growth Asia Foundation and WWF-Malaysia. Importantly, the Eco-Schools Programme is being fully supported through the active participation of the Chief Minister of Melaka. Green Growth Asia Foundation acts as an intermediary between WWF-Malaysia and the state government of Melaka by managing the implementation and operation of the programme. Importantly, the programme has been adapted to meet the specific needs and capabilities of Melaka State.
Key Programme Elements and Structure
Green Growth Asia Foundation undertakes active management of the Eco-Schools Programme through a 7-step methodology framework, which acts as a guide towards being an eco-school. The framework also acts as a means of maintaining a sense of uniformity and intentionality when it comes to the implementation of the Eco-Schools Programme. The seven steps are as follows:
Key programme elements include:
- Local universities assigning a senior staff member to train and mentor at least three teaching staff at each school. This is a critical hand-holding approach that will ensure success. Green Growth Asia Foundation will take the lead in training the university staff members.
- The State Education Department will hold a dialogue with Parent Teacher Associations (PTA) to envision them on the Eco-Schools Programme and secure their buy-in and support for both the young people and the teachers.
- The schools will be encouraged to choose a project that solves a specific environmental issue that has arisen in their area. This real life rehabilitation project will have more meaning for the young people and the community that will benefit from the intervention.
- The programme will be supported by a strong volunteer network. Volunteers are envisioned on the programme goals and trained on their specific tasks.
- Green Growth Asia Foundation will also work towards making connections between the school and the private sector, which might contribute in some way towards the solution.
- Green Growth Asia Foundation will be actively participating in the management of the programme and will be ready to provide support to schools where needed. In essence, the schools will not be left on their own, but will be supported by a university mentor and Green Growth Asia Foundation management team.
- The projects will be assessed by Green Growth Asia Foundation in early 2018. A gala dinner will be held soon afterwards to celebrate all that has been achieved. The Chief Minister of Malacca will give out the awards and prizes at the dinner.
- There are three kinds of accreditation initiated by the Eco-Schools Programme – the Bronze and Silver award, and the prestigious Green Flag. In addition, there will be a range of state awarded prizes.
Programme Roll Out
The Eco-Schools Programme be implemented in the whole of Melaka state with the involvement of 100 primary and secondary schools. These schools are assigned to 10 clusters, 10 schools per cluster. The programme started in 2017.
Expected Programme Outcomes
ECO-SCHOOLS CAN ENHANCE THE CURRICULUM
Helping pupils to understand how different issues are linked together, like the connections between transport and pollution and climate change or management of the school grounds and increased biodiversity.
ECO-SCHOOLS CAN HELP MAKE COMMUNITY LINKS
Raise their awareness of environmental issues and to improve the community spirit of an area, helping everyone to become involved in the decision-making of their local area. Students become ambassadors for the environment – for life!
ECO-SCHOOLS CAN IMPROVE SCHOOL GROUNDS AND NURTURE LEADERSHIP
By taking part in the Eco-Schools Programme, it is likely school grounds will be improved. This can happen in many ways – whether through less litter being dropped or even through the building of raised vegetable growing beds.