Sabah Environmental Education Policy

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					         Sabah Environmental Education Policy
                            (First Draft on 8th August, 2006)

Chapter 1: Introduction
1.1 Environmental Education in Sabah
Environmental education (EE) is a learning process in which the individual acquires
skills, knowledge, awareness and values for promoting environmental conservation and
sustainable environmental management. EE is, therefore, considered to be an important
element in planning, procedure and actions.

Nowadays, there are many sets of environmental education plans and activities in Sabah.
Various organizations and agencies are involved in the implementation of those sets of
plans and programs such as environmental communication, public awareness and
training activities. These activities range from talks, exhibition, radio show, drawing (or
coloring) competition, cleaning-up, tree planting and recycling to seminars, workshops
and training. Therefore, a network of environmental network called Sabah
Environmental Education Network (SEEN) was established in 2004 as a framework to
strengthen the capacity of relevant stakeholders, through institutional information
sharing, and promote environmental education in Sabah. SEEN is considered as one of
appropriate mechanisms to facilitate environmental education in the state.

Nevertheless, the current environmental education activities and coordination
mechanism have not been adequate enough in obtaining coordination among
government agencies and administration units at Sabah State. By enhancing the policy
integrity of the state it is easy to stimulate improved institutional coordination among
different sectors and governmental agencies. In order to build an effective coordination
for implementing environmental education, a mechanism called “Environmental
Education Policy” needs to be developed for the Sabah State Government and
Administrations. Because, well-organized coordination in the context of environmental
education would encompass an effective organizational structure, sound management
practice and periodical monitoring and evaluation process. An environmental education
policy can also show the total map and bird’s-eye view of the on-going and planned
environmental education activities in the state. In the case, actors from both private and

public sectors should be involved in the process of developing an environmental
education policy.

1.2 Definition of “Environmental Education”
Environmental Education is not a new concept in Sabah State. However, it is applied
differently for different purposes. In the document, by the term “Environmental
Education” it implies activities or programs relating “Education, Public Awareness and
Training” This concept is well explained in Chapter 36 of Agenda 21. Environmental
Education cuts across all the disciplines and therefore it in linked to all sectors and
approaches of education such as the formal, non-formal and in-formal education. In the
process of environmental education, individuals gain awareness, communicate with
others and instill in them the sense of determination which will enable them to act,
individually and collectively to solve the problem and prevent it in the future. (IUCN,

Chapter 2: Vision and Mission

2.1 Vision
To transform Sabah into environmentally sustainable land for biodiversity conservation
and ecosystem management.

2.2 Mission
To facilitate the effective implementation of education, public awareness and training
programs for the environmental conservation and sustainable development in order for
Sabah’s people to enhance, change and guide their knowledge, skills, attitudes and

2.3 Policy Objectives
To enable stakeholders of environmental education to manage education, public
awareness and training for environmental conservation and sustainable development,
the following policy objectives have been set forth.

1.   To identify governmental responsibilities and tasks for conducting education, public
     awareness and training on biodiversity and ecosystem conservation.

2.   To develop new governance mechanism and draw a comprehensive bird-eye view
     map on environmental education in Sabah.
3.   To develop/support new schemes to promote environmental education.

2.4 Formulation of the Policy
Sabah Environmental Education Policy is formulated based on:
1. Chapter 36, Agenda 21
2. Convention on Biological Diversity
3. National Policy on Environment
4. National Philosophy of Education
5. National Policy on Biological Biodiversity
6. Sabah Biodiversity Enactment
7. Sabah Wildlife Conservation Enactment
8. Sabah Forest Enactment
9. Sabah Parks Enactment
10. Conservation of Environment Enactment
11. Sabah Education Department’s Principle, and
12. International commitments related to environmental education

Chapter 3: Strategies and Action Plans

Strategies and plan of actions that are crucially important to achieve the policy
objectives mentioned in Chapter Two are briefly presented in Table 1 below. Concrete
task follows a brief description of each strategy and action.

                          Table 1 Strategies and Action Plan
                   Strategies                                   Action Plan
                                              3.1.1. Provide learning opportunities in the
                                              real life situation
3.1 Enhance the quality and quantity of EE
                                              3.1.2. Develop/Improve/Utilize EE facilities
                                              3.1.3.   Strengthen   the   capacity   of   staff
                                              3.2.1. Collect information on the facilities and
3.2 Strengthen the existing mechanisms of activities of public and private organizations
collaboration and networking                  3.2.2. Strengthen the functions/activities of
                                              3.3.1. Formulate guidelines for monitoring and
3.3 Develop methodology for assessing the evaluation
total EE program                              3.3.2. Adopt the system of reporting on the
                                              state of EE to the concerned

3.1 Enhance the quality and quantity of EE activities
A knowledge-based environmental education program is considered to be the driving
force for enhancing education, public awareness and communication. The existing
program of EE is, more or less, confined to a limited target groups and places in the
state. The increase in the number of activities alone is not enough to effectively promote
EE. The program has to be supported by the increase in their frequencies as well; it
should address all modes of education (formal, informal, non-formal and even
incidental modes); it should be both field- as well as activity-based. Simultaneously, the
program should be supported by a team of capable and competent staff members.

3.1.1 Provide learning opportunities in the real life situation
Opportunities for learning should be provided to target groups to get exposures to new
knowledge, technology and skills at all times. Every possible modes, techniques and

approaches (field-based, learner-based, hand-on experience etc.) should be utilized to
raise their awareness. Varieties of opportunities should be provided for reinforcing in
them the sense of enjoyment, love and positive values. Relevant educational materials,
appropriate subject matter, suitable methodology and the right target group are crucially
important in the successful transmission of knowledge, attitude and practice (KAP). For
achieving this objective, the following actions are set up.

   i.      Undertake awareness programs for various target groups using appropriate
   ii.     Organize issue-based workshop/seminar for environmental educators and
   iii.    Incorporate issue-based approach in the school curriculum/training courses
   iv.     Observe “EE Week” coinciding any day such as World Environment Day,
           World Wetlands Day, World Water Day, World Rice Day, etc.
   v.      Emphasize the concepts of EE, ecosystem, biodiversity, sustainable
           development etc. in the interpretation/orientation program
   vi.     Organize activities-based program in the facilities such as nature walk,
           wildlife watching, plant observation, etc.
   vii.    Develop/disseminate educational materials appropriate to the environment of
           Sabah state

3.1.2. Develop/utilize/improve EE facilities
Facilities such as visitor center, environmental education center, interpretation center,
museum, botanical garden, zoological garden, tourist information center, theme park
and etc. have been set up for public awareness by many organizations depending on
their goals. They are the source of information, knowledge, wisdom and wonders; they
can learn many things from a single location about the benefits, education and
enjoyment from the environment; they provide inspiration and motivation for the wise
use of resources. These facilities and many others serve as the best examples of
environmental education. The suggested actions to achieve this objective are listed

   i.      Support/encourage organizations in establishing facilities at strategic
           location within the premise
   ii.     Support/encourage waste management practices together with information
           on guidance on reusing, recycling wise use etc.

   iii.    Promote self-learning materials such as sign board, self-explanatory poster,
           simple safety rules and brochure
   iv.     Provide, as much as possible, the environment for activity-based learning for
           the visitors in the facilities.

3.1.3. Strengthen the capacity of staff members
Abundant resources, good organizational structures and sound program are not always
adequate to achieve the goal without the active supports of qualified, capable and
well-motivated staff members. Motivation and will power of staff members are equally,
if not the most, important All these factors would work well only when the staff
members are given periodic training on new technology, knowledge and skills. The
level of their commitment, enthusiasm and confidence should be maintained at all times,
for which the following actions have been suggested.

    i.     Provide short refreshing training to the staff regularly
    ii.    Organize regularly talk, seminar or workshop for the staff
    iii.   Send staff abroad for short course, special training or higher studies
    iv.    Encourage the staff for the excursion or observation tour of other facilities
    v.     Support the staff in joining professional organizations and their programs
    vi.    Encourage the staff exchange program with the staff of other facilities
    vii.   Provide incentives (scholarship abroad, award) to the educational staff

3.2 Strengthen the existing mechanisms of collaboration and
Environmental education is our common concern, regardless of sectors, factors and
actors we deal with. Most of them are involved directly or indirectly in EE. They have
their own specialties and strengths in dealing with the issue. Bringing these unique
features together is the centerpiece of collaboration and networking in EE. Optimum
benefits from minimum resources and active involvement of relevant stakeholders are
the main concerns of networking and collaboration. Understanding one another is the
requisite for a successful networking. The intention here is to establish the database of
agencies and organizations engaged in, and re-mobilize them in the promotion of, EE.

3.2.1 Collect information on the facilities and activities of public and private
A minimum of information is necessary to initiate any activities. In the case of

networking and collaboration, baseline data on the status of various agencies and
organizations from all sectors (public, private and voluntary) are vitally important to
strengthen the existing mechanism. Necessary data and information would be collected
and maintained as database and used them as and when necessary for the promotion of
EE. Major actions that are important to achieve this objective are given below.

   i.      Prepare/update a directory of public and private organizations
   ii.     Provide regular platform for members including publication of newsletter,
           e-mail, website, etc.
   iii.    Recognize/publicize collaborative works related to EE
   iv.     Provide incentives (logo use, sponsor, honoring etc.) for collaborative works
   v.      Encourage mutual sharing of facilities/resources for professional activities

3.2.2 Strengthen the functions/activities of SEEN
SEEN is a good example of smart partnership in the state of Sabah. The network is
formed under the auspices of UST/BBEC and represents governmental agencies, the
private sector and civil society. It is a platform where civil servants, executives from the
public sector and representative leaders from civil society discuss issues and improve
their understanding on matters related to EE. It is considered as a think-tank for
promoting public awareness and communication in Sabah state. Therefore, intention
here is to recognize its importance and promote its functions (through
member-organizations) and thereby helping sustain symbiotic relationship among
agencies and organization concerned with EE. The suggested actions are presented

   i.      Support/publicize SEEN as an innovative idea of smart partnership in EE
   ii.     Encourage other organizations to join SEEN
   iii.    Provide special training on networking and collaboration to its members
   iv.     Honor/recognize outstanding member organization/member on EE week
   v.      Vitalize/upgrade the existing communication mechanism

3.3 Develop methodology for assessing the total EE program
While a common goal is the nucleus for a successful partnership program, mutually
acceptable processes and even procedures are its pillars. Objectives common to all
stakeholders are extremely important for the collaborative implementation of EE. This
objective is concerned with the process of improving the capacity to plan, implement

and reconsider the planning capabilities. A good methodology typifies not only our
commitment and concern but also guarantee cooperation and coordination. This section
focuses on M&E at the grass root level and reporting system at the national level.

3.3.1. Formulate guidelines for monitoring and evaluation (M&E)
M&E is a tool that measures the effectiveness, strengths and bottlenecks of a program
and sets the program on the right track. The guidelines on M&E are, therefore, essential
to check activities, whether or not they are on the right course. The guidelines help us
obtain good coordination and propose alternatives in the face of any unexpected
challenges and risks. The proposed actions are given below.

   i.      Designate an organization as coordinator for managing activities under 3.3.1
           and 3.3.2
   ii.     Undertake an assessment study on public awareness at a mutually-agreed
           upon interval
   iii.    Appoint a committee for the development and implementation of M&E
   iv.     Facilitate each member in implementing the M&E guidelines

3.3.2. Adopt the system of reporting on the state of EE to the concerned
The result of the EE program should be disseminated widely across the society right
from the policy makers to the grass root people i.e. practitioners. A good mechanism of
reporting would, not only publicize the work and diffuse the idea of EE but also receive
feedbacks for the future. A good reporting system can also ensure willing, informed and
responsible participation of the stakeholder in the enhancement of EE policy and plan in
the state. Suggested actions for this objective are as follows.

   i.      Prepare an annual report synthesizing M&E and other activities
   ii.     Submit the same report to the state cabinet
   iii.    Publish white paper on EE periodically in collaboration with stakeholders
   iv.     Publish/disseminate evaluation reports and white paper

                                        Replay Form
We request you to kindly go through the Sabah EE Policy (1st draft) and send back your comments
and suggestions to UST until the End of September, 2006 by letter, facsimile or e-mail.
Contact Address: Science and Technology Unit, 7th Floor, Block B, Wisma MUIS 88100, Kota
Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia; Fax no: 088-249410;